Charles Grogg

I take the title of this portfolio, “After Ascension and Descent,” from a phrase by Pierre Joris in A Nomad Poetics in which he calls for an approach to writing that accounts for what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari refer to as “rhizomatic,” allowing for varieties of discourse, idioms, syntax, even languages.

I gave the work this title because I am at a loss when it comes to speaking of knowing one’s roots. My family, with its adopted members, silence about its past, reverence for the absolute at the expense of the profane, has taught me to speak one language only. To be monolingual is to be foreshortened, and like so many Americans I know I speak a provincial, not a global, language. The advent of “wireless” living does nothing to allay this. If anything, we are almost hopelessly tethered—to each other, to the world. It’s when we forget this, when we think we are free beyond complicity, that we encounter trouble looking for meaning.

Thinking in these terms has resulted in these images, an expression of desire for growth at the moment of inhibition, when hesitation is the gap between desiring and having.


3 thoughts on “Charles Grogg

  1. Charles, I appreciate your choice to shoot this image in black and white. The range of value the light catches really brings out the subject matter.

  2. With this photo I believe the message has to do with growth in knowledge of some sort. The photograph is very powerful and because of the roots from the tree wrapping around the boys head.

  3. I’ve read on Charles Grogg, and one of the themes in his work is what I refer to as depressing optimism.

    The tree could be seen to represent growth and knowledge, especially when it is shown entwining its roots around the head of the subject. The way the tree goes off of the image into infinity could also be a metaphor to how our own gain of knowledge is limitless.

    On the other side of the spectrum, I see what could be fear of said knowledge. Our subject is facing away from us, perhaps afraid or perhaps thinking that they are above us in intelligence. The choice of color is dark and brooding, accenting the frailty of the tree roots.

    Many themes can be taken from this work, and I find it fascinating that so many different interpretations can be found.

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