Caption for Photos 1-5:
Giggles and Grass Stains
Caption for Photos 6-11:
The Pursuit of Ignorance Past
Caption for Photo 12:
Unattainable, Mesmerizing Happiness
I have entitled my photographic narrative “Ignorance/Bliss”, as I wanted to communicate the search for complete happiness, which seems to be unattainable outside of ignorance. The title is a play off of the cliche “ignorance is bliss,” with the slash to indicate the unattainability of either, past a certain age. This is a much darker message than I initially intended, as my intention was to tell the universal story of the search for happiness, that I feel dictates each individual’s life story. The responses I received corresponded to my starting narrative, but, along with my change of heart for the message of the project, I want the viewers to understand it as well. I find I sympathize with Mohr’s view of photography, which is that the photographer is the vehicle for the art. I have thought art to be a form through which the artist expresses his or her thoughts and views, and if this is to be left solely to the viewer, then this strips the artist of his or her art. If this is the desirable outcome, then the artist may well not have existed. I understand this is the viewpoint of Barthes, to remove the photographer from the consideration of the photograph, but this theory is senseless to me. The photograph was seen by the photographer. It is a moment of life that he or she experienced in a way that no one else did or can. Thus, Mohr is my model, as this is, in a way, my art, and I want viewers to understand it as intended, for this is the reason humans communicate–to demonstrate and prove intention. The photographic essay has its own story, but the words must be there to guide it.
My photographs are captioned in groups, because I do not want to completely override the art of the original photographer, but rather string the art in a way I have dictated, through my sections, in order to tell my story. The first section, of young people, is representative of the initial stage of life, as Abby pointed out, when “happiness can be found easily” and one is still essentially unbothered by the complexities of human society and his own self. This part of life is physical and easy, a message I tried to capture in the caption “Giggles and Grass Stains”. The second section is entitled “The Pursuit of Ignorance Past”, as the individual, now older and more exposed to a complicated world, attempts to reverse time and once again be blissfully happy. I wanted to make this clear, because Claire, for example, was confused by the photograph of the pills, which was the darkest of the section. The last photograph is entitled “Unattainable, Mesmerizing Happiness” in an attempt to convey the pull that the individual feels towards blissful happiness. This is illustrated through the group of people looking up at the fireworks, as their goal is so brilliant and amazing, and yet so intangible, much like the beauty of a firework.
As aforementioned, my initial goal was to simply tell the universal tale of the pursuit of happiness. I was attempting, much like Edward Steichen of The Family of Man, to create a universality with my narrative. This is what drew me to attempt to add diversity to the subjects in my photos. As I searched for photographs to demonstrate this narrative, I found a distinction between youth, whose happiness comes more readily, and the older population, whose search includes supplements to aid in their happiness. Upon the reception of the comments from Claire and Abby, I wanted my message to be more complex than they had understood it. I wanted to use my words to create a punctum for the reader without overriding the purpose and meaning behind the original, separate, photographs. Further, I feel that a caption under every photo was too limiting for the viewer, as the emotions and experiences I attempted to convey transcend my own vocabulary, and I did not want to devalue the message with inappropriate words. Thus, I created sections, which impose a message without being too blunt.
Photo One: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clea/8310492642/
Photo Two: http://blocklist.tumblr.com
Photo Three: http://mollyinkenya.tumblr.com
Photo Four: http://faith-in-humanity.tumblr.com
Photo Five: http://jbarbie.com
Photo Six: http://suezin.tumblr.com/post/40702672973/psycodelocos-on-we-heart-it
Photo Seven: http://hayleymehmet.com
Photo Eight: http://totallycoolpix.com/2011/03/holi-day-aka-festival-of-colours/
Photo Nine: http://happeningwithinyou.tumblr.com/post/21422374110
Photo Ten: http://fotojournalismus.tumblr.com
Photo Eleven: My photo
Photo Twelve: http://itslatingirl.tumblr.com