Seen from a historical perspective, examples [of the Other] abound: think about the cold war and the mutual demonization between USA and Russia. Or take the anthropological literature which is replete with examples of aboriginal people either dehumanized and treated as animals or idealized as specifically pure, being-in-touch-with-nature, unspoiled creates (see Gaugin above). Whatever the image and values projected onto the other, it reflects usually not just a mirror image of our own identity but constitutes something that essentially withdraws from our grasp.
In this exercise of examining "the Other", I've chosen three subjects - an Individual, a Group/Sub-culture, and an Action. The goal is for these to be foreign to me either negatively or positively. I attempted to choose subjects that affect me in way, which will be explained with the photographic representations I've chosen. The first step is to identify these subjects.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="386" caption="Photo by price_photography on Flickr"][/caption]
I've known my fair share of people who have made it into that upper crust of popular music aristocracy. For this first view, I'm identifying the guy in the band who has all of a sudden hit it big, as if by a fluke. His life was, perhaps, spent at school, playing random gigs on the weekends. At some point he gets bored, drops out of school and focuses on his music. And a few months later this decision pays off.
But I wonder what it's like for the traveling musician. Maybe not so much while he is on the road. But what happens when he gets home? When the non-stop companionship of the venue and tour bus and truck stops is replaced by that apartment or house that's only lived in a few days out of the month. The emptiness of the stationary vs. the fullness of the transient. It seems and opposite station than what most of us experience day-to-day.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Jacquelyn Portolese Photography"][/caption]
From the outside, hipster culture is a confusing thing. Irony permeates the exterior of this movement. For example, the vast majority of "hipsters" have enough money to spend on multiple drunken nights a week, shop at expensive clothing and grocery stores, and afford expensive Vespas or single speed bicycles. Yet despite their bank accounts, they choose to appear as though they don't have that money - vintage glasses and cameras, made-to-look-old shirts and jackets, cheap beer, etc.
Or another example, they choose to eat natural or organic for health reasons yet smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. This ironic view of the world around them translates into a superiority complex--an attitude of boredom with normal life and the everyday, yet an appreciation for the material confines that dominate the very society they are attempting to transcend. They are cool by being not cool. The culture is one of paradox.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Photo by Bright Tal on flickr"][/caption]
Eating meat never used to come with any baggage, but today the act of consuming animal products is called into question. Organizations like PETA have demonized what has been considered the norm for centuries and though there doesn't seem to be much of an active debate, the vegan lifestyle has been adopted by many people.
How do these people see the world? That's a hard question to answer, but definitely worth a try. In this exercise I am going to try to show you what I came up with by putting myself in their skin. Obviously this will only work for the first two. For the third we'll look at how the drunk who has lost everything sees the world (as per the assignment). In order, then:
[caption id="attachment_23728" align="alignnone" width="505" caption="The Rockstar."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2190" align="alignnone" width="505" caption="Hipster City"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2192" align="alignnone" width="505" caption="Weight of the World"][/caption]
Number three is, obviously, a bit stylized. But I think it communicates the despair, hopelessness and sheer weight of the world around this man who has lost everything.
Number two is also pretty surreal. But this idea of the regular world being boring until you get to the club inspired me. If you're living for that communal high, you may experience tunnel-vision in a similar way to the comp I did above.
In all three, I think loneliness is the common thread. This wasn't intentional, but sort of surfaced as I got into the project. When the superficial decides to hide what are you left with if you've only invested in the fun and transient?