Torbjorn Rodland


My friend Jeff alerted me to a great article in the New York Times on the photographer, Torbjorn Rodland. His works are so interesting, usually kind of dis-orienting, and surely some of the best photography out there today. There are some great observations about his process and perspectives. His work can seem to have a religious quality to them and sometimes look like contemporary icons. There are also allusions to the Second World War in his work which prompted this reply/obersvation, 

"The photograph is one of a number of works Mr. Rodland has made that allude to World War II. As with the religious and pop-cultural imagery that appears in some of his work, his interest in the topic, he explained, stems from his fascination with the myths that shape contemporary society. In his view, the war has replaced the New Testament as society’s vehicle for understanding good and evil. “The Holocaust,” Mr. Rodland explained, is “the main mythical story of our culture.” He said this explained why “movies dealing with that story are seen as Academy Awards contenders, while ones dealing with biblical stories are laughable.”

The shaping myths of modern society have been in flux for a number of years, perhaps since Darwin et. al. when alternatives to the common imagination emerged. I thought Rodland's comments about the Holocaust as a means of understanding good and evil is an interesting one. I think for some of the post-war generations it would definitely work as such, I'm not sure about those who have come of age more recently, as the WW's retreat further into history, but it's a salient point that shaping myths change in modern societies and we would do well to consider that when we think things through theologically and philosophically.

You can read the whole article yourself here: