The American Dream
Photo 1: http://culture.polishsite.us/images-10/kryzys3.jpg
Photo 2: http://www.majorhistory.com/resources/polish%20immigrants.jpg
Photo 3: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3143/2701944818_5b1e7b0c12_z.jpg
Photo 4: http://www.gjenvick.com/images
Photo 5: http://iws.punahou.edu
Photo 6: http://1.bp.blogspot.com
Photo 7: http://static.guim.co.uk
I titled the photographic essay “Hope/Despair” in order to bring about a tension between the spectators own thought process on the commentary of immigration. I did not want there to be a strictly positive view on the landscape, yet I also did not want a strictly negative view either. I wanted to convey the struggle that migration causes, and how one must keep the faith of the dream to truly gain access to happiness. That does not mean it is always fulfilled. I did not add any captions or text because I very much believe in Barthes style of a photographic essay, where the spectator brings about all the emotions and thoughts throughout the narrative. The author–me–has done enough to compile the photographs together, and as such, it is up to the spectator to interpret the collections in their own way. Simply by putting the title and the photographs together, the author/photographer has given enough insight into their own thought process in order for the spectator to understand their message. Also, from the responses of Elana and Emily, I was able to see that my narrative was gleaned in the correct light, therefore I think that there is enough direction without words. If I were to comment on the pictures and give my own context to the works as a whole, it would be extremely selfish by not letting the spectator bring about their own conclusions and thoughts. To me, a photographic narrative is all about the spectator and what they would draw from the photographs; it is not the author/editor carousing them toward their intentions through accompanying text.
As I began the project, it was extremely difficult for me to commit to a narrative. This is partly to do with my own indecisiveness and partly to do with the fact that I wanted to show something that would comment on a social issue. I found my project within the concept of the American Dream. Finding and compiling the photographs together was a significantly easier task, since the main context and narrative story has been fleshed out. After reading the comments on my photographic narrative, I was pleased to see that the spectators were able to glean my general message from the photographs alone. It was then time to add additional text if I wanted to supplement the photographs. Since the spectator was able to share my vision, I did not feel it necessary to add any further commentary on the photographs. I did add a tile, which was very difficult for me to choose. I wanted to convey a sense of while also a sense of pejoration throughout the narrative. I felt that immigration/migration was too broad of a title while The American Dream could be interpreted in many different ways, depending on the spectator’s own perceptions of these terms. I felt that the American Dream would do the most in reaching all spectators and uniting them within this photographic narrative. This could have a negative or positive connotation, depending on the spectators own thoughts and interpretations. I wanted this photographic narrative to center on the spectators own views, and I think that I accomplished this goal.