Artist Biography

My educational background began in Toledo, Ohio where I earned an Associate of Business & Marketing, and then a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Dallas in Literary Studies, Secondary Education, English, and English as a Second Language. As an English teacher, I developed an interest in Interdisciplinary Studies and then earned a Master of Arts in Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas. My love for art and photography has inspired me to hold memberships in The Plano Arts Association, The Dallas Museum of Art, The Meadows Museum, and The Dallas Institute of Humanities. The joy of Paths & Reflections is a deeper way to view and explore life through the lens of a camera and contemplate the philosophy of ancient classical thought as stated by Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Purpose and Meaning of Photography

Paths and Reflections

The spontaneous and natural desire to capture the “image” of objects in our everyday life has become the center of the Post-Modern World or Age of Globalism & Information in the twenty-first century. Today, individuals seek to immortalize the “essence of the moment” by the use of photography, and by doing so, develop a form of communication and language that is rooted in the ancient classical theory of "Plato’s Theory of Forms and Ideas". Plato believed that all objects or Forms represent Ideas that remain permanent and eternal in memory, yet the object itself is temporary in time and place.

Thus the essence of what we capture in memory and thought is forever embedded in our mind and heart. To capture and sustain these Ideas or Forms, the picture or photograph is the ultimate mode of communication between friends, family, co-workers, advertisers, Internet, cell phone communication, film, and television. Now, the image or photograph represents a universal language that all individuals can understand. People seek to capture the “essence, idea or emotion” behind personal experiences, events, and intimate moments that can never be relived in the physical form but can be remembered through the lens of a camera. Moreover, photographs are an artful mode of communication that is efficient and easy to use, accessible through technology, and affordable to most individuals. "Plato’s Theory of Forms and Ideas" is the total culmination of mankind’s desire to capture poignant images in their physical state.

Through pictures, civilizations have communicated their daily lives since the origins of civilizations. Prehistoric Cave Art of Lascaux, France dated between 28,000 and 10,000 BCE exposes beautiful wall paintings representing the earliest examples of artistic expressions. The images of the Paleolithic Cave Art show an evocative and an amazingly accurate depiction of the physical representations of animals such as cows, bulls, horses, bison, and deer that were of such importance to the people of this Old Stone Age era. How could the cave men of the Paleolithic era capture the essence of what they held so dearly to themselves? How could the cave men give honor and remember the animals they killed for their own survival? The cave men gave back what they took from nature by immortalizing its image in picture form on the walls of their caves. In theory, the cave people are similar to the people of the modern world as we seek to immortalize things we value in picture form.

Today, there is an unyielding desire and need to preserve and archive our lives, memorable moments, special events, extraordinary feelings, and then share this information with those close to us. As a result, this personal and dynamic form of expression permeates the paths of our daily lives. Whatever the device or method used to create photographs, the eternal Form or Idea behind them becomes a part of the journey, the evolving path in a busy and changing world.

Renee Marie Sullivan
Professor of Humanities
Collin College