✦ the wonder of sonder ✦
the piece i decided to make for this assignment is a pictorial storytelling collection. i attempt to transport the viewer around the greater montreal area through acts of love, care, attention, and support. through this collection, i hoped to achieve a sense of warmth and peace. i wanted to make the piece as welcoming as possible considering the subject matter and what it contained. the piece is inspiredby an internet term: "sonder". it is defined as the realization that there are an infinite amount of stories happening to people completely detached from your life. this is ironic considering that as the artist, i'm framing these stories from my perspective, and placing my eye in the center of a world i do not belong to and know nothing about. this is physically represented in the gallery on my wall. If one cares to look, they can notice that i've placed a picture of the photographer, me, in the center of the cluster of pictures taken. through the compositon of this collection, and by placing each picture in its context, thry all take up th emessage i imbue them with.
furthermore, by picturing these relationships and acts of love in film photography, i hoped to immortalize the moment, and therefor what it stood for and depicted. i thought that these acts of affection were wondrous in the sense that not knowing the full story only added to the potential of the picture. i also thought that these acts were very pure and wholesome to want to immortalize, as opposed to the history of wonder and how it was achieved.
i chose film photography for many reasons, but here are the main ones. first, i wanted to accentuate the presence of the photograph. according to roland barthes, photographs always show something to the extent that the photo gets confused with the subjects they depict. by mechanically repeating a moment to infinity, the photograph is closer to being the moment that a photograph, at least in the human psyche. by using film photography that i developed, to put on my wall and then taking a picture of the photograph on my wall rather than simply uploading the digitalized version, i accentuate the photograph and lessen the moment, highlighting the fact that is it, in fact, just a photograph. this is directly contrasted with the names i gave each photograph, choosing to name them after what they contained rather than, for example, "photograph of blank". I felt this disconnect further propped up this "fakeness" of the image.
the second reason i chose film photography is that genuinely love it. i used my trusty fujifilm discovery 270 zoom that i found at a flea market for no more than 5$. it is a medium i love and am very confortable with considering i grew up with it. i love old things like ancient electronics and tools of the past, so this collection was in a way an hommage to those things rendered obsolete by time. this is one of many things that have made it into the collection that is very much based on the artist's choice and their way of envisioning the world around them.
another thing that influence both my artistry and curation of these pictures is quite literally photographing process. according to john berger's ways of seeing the sole action of looking at something is a choice of the beholder's part. this extends to photography is in the choice of subject on the photographer's part. this means that all images, because that are man-made, have an intrinsic bias that gets passed on from the maker to what is made. in my case, i think it is a mix of societal and cultural norms, as well as my personal opionons and feelings about what i'm witnessing. an example of societal norms that influences the picture-taking and labelling process is the heteronormativity of today's society. when picturing a man and a woman together, i was always very quick to conclude that they were a couple, whereas the assumption was a little slower with same-sex couples or companions. i went out of my way to correct and go against this pervasive norm in my work, but then i realized that without these norms, it was up to my judgement and discrection to label these relationships, because i knew so little about them.
this leads me back to my initial intention with the project. the term sonder specifically defined this realization: that there were so many lives, stories, and people, that we would never and could never know. this term is so special to me because it perfectly encapsuplates the art of photography. because it captures a moment, disregarding its context, and recognizing its potential in its stead; because it means that knowing everything isn't always knowing.