Over the course of several years I sought out the twenty-eight cultural mythologies Roland Bathes posited in his book simply titled, "Mythologies". Written in 1957 in Paris, Barthes explores how meaning is created in a variety of forms or myths, from high art to trivia, food, toys and popular rituals of contemporary life. As a testament to how far reaching symbolic language can be, I set out in search of these same myths at work in Portland, Oregon, five thousand miles from Paris and over fifty years after Barthes defined them.


His inspiration was simple; he “resented seeing Nature and History confused at every turn, and wanted to track down, in a decorative display of what-goes-without-saying, the ideological abuse which, in my view is hidden there.”


This project continues to track down these ideological abuses. Each image in turn raises the question, "What is the mythos here?"


The title of each image in this series corresponds to the chapter titles that Barthes used to deconstruct the symbolic meaning of the object at hand. Everything I photographed was found within a three-mile radius of where I was living. Finding all twenty-eight mythologies operating in my environment and culture was surprisingly easy. I'm interested if you can find evidence of these ideas in your own environment and culture, not because the mythologies themselves are important, but that they are a common place where we can start to understand the ways we spread, accept and regurgitate symbolic language.

The World of Wrestling

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Romans in Film

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The Writer on Holiday

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The Blue Blood Cruise

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Blind and Dumb Criticism 

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Soaps and Detergent 

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The Poor and the Proletariat 

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Operation Margarine 

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Dominici, or the Triumph of Literature

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The Iconography of the Abbe Pierre

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Novels & Children

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Toys

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The Face of Greta Garbo

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Wine & Milk

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Steak & Fries

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Einstein's Brain

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The Nautilus and the Drunken Ship

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The Jet-man

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Ornamental Cookery

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Neither-Nor Criticism

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Striptease

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The New Citroen 

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Photography and the Electoral Appeal

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The Lost Continent

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Plastics

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The Great History of Man

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Lady Camilla

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