From the series of Vanitas Portraits called Allegories by photographer Ben Marcum.

Many who love learning surround themselves with their studies and symbols of their pursuit.

  • Books represent human curiosity and knowledge-seeking. But even hard-won learning cannot survive human mortality.
  • The globe represents knowledge and exploration, and the awareness of man’s place in the world, the universe, and, by extrapolation, the
  • Game pieces represent impermanence linked with folly, indulgence, deception, and self-delusion
  • The pipe represents the transience of smoke, coupled with the censorious implications of time-wasting
  • Decaying flowers foreshadow the inevitable, eventual decay of the body and the mind.