[ Beneath the Waves ]

What Does This Symbol Mean?

article by Ben Lincoln


I like symbols that can be interpreted in many different ways. They act sort of like Rorschach tests — giving the viewer the opportunity to see themselves reflected in their perception of what the symbol means.

One of my all-time favourites is Daniel Cabuco's symbol for Kain, the vampire emperor from the Legacy of Kain series. It's possible to see a crown, bat-wings, fangs, flames, smoke, and many other elements within it. It's an abstract, tribal design, but it captures the essence of that character as portrayed in the first Soul Reaver game.

When I got started on my multispectral photography project, I wanted a name for it that would evoke the fact that I was capturing images of the world that were hidden to us   sort of my own personal "sub rosa". I love the imagery of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. The idea of enormous, ancient cities built by god-like, alien beings in the distant past, lost at the bottom of the ocean is one particular element of them that stuck in my mind. This is the core of the design — the towers of R'lyeh viewed through a fisheye lens, with ocean waves crossed in front of them.

There were many other images and influences that went into it, however. For example:

Symbol Explanation
[ The core concept ]
The core concept
[ One of the many additional meanings ]
One of the many additional meanings
[ There really is a flower hiding in there ]
There really is a flower hiding in there


Wax Seal
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Made using a computer-controlled laser at Metrix on Capitol Hill in Seattle, 2014-10-02.

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