Thursday, 25 July 2013

Day 222: Surreal is the New Real

While working in the nursery in the mornings I have been listening to the Metaphysical Secrets of Imagination Series from Eqafe. Having gone down the road of ‘Eating Disorders’ I find this series very supportive in terms of providing structural guidance in terms of how we create our self-image and how one can assist and support oneself in deconstructing one’s relationship with oneself as an ‘image’ to getting to know yourself as a physical human being.

So while I was listening to some of the interviews I was relaying the information back to the time where I was participating in Eating Disorders as well as my hobby of taking pictures and editing them.

What I noticed for instance when I went through a period of Eating Disorder within obsessively and compulsively looking at pictures of models (which all go through extensive photo manipulation firstly through lighting/set up and then secondly through digital manipulation such as photoshop), what I was drawn to in each image/picture would be the ‘surrealness’ of what was being portrayed. I would for instance like particular curves or body shapes because they were on the border or within the realm of being surreal.

Having gone to art school and playing with taking pictures a lot in my life, I started noticing that what makes pictures ‘pop’ and what people seem to ‘respond to’ / like some pictures while not others (including myself) was their level of surrealness. Nobody enjoys a plain picture that you randomly took of your street and the houses in it. Not unless it has got some nice ‘angle’ to it and you ‘play’ with the colours. So the moment something looks ‘better’ than what it actually looks like in reality = you have a nice picture.

I mean, we just have to look at for instance the whole Instagram phenomenon, Why is it so popular? How come everyone is suddenly taking nice pictures? It’s because instagram allows you to for each and every single picture you take, to alter it and change the way it actually looks like in reality. You have your various filters which open up ‘different moods’ for your picture to be displayed in. Some are more dark/sad while others have a summery/funtime feel to it. You can play with the brightness and the contrast, manipulating the intensity of colours as to what it looks like compared in reality.

I mean, in the beginning of photography what was great was the ‘factual’ aspect of the whole invention. When you draw or paint a person there’s always a level of personal interpretation and style that will influence the accuracy of the representation of what it is that you’re drawing/painting. As photography evolved, we could take/make pictures of things and have an actual representation of what it looks like in reality. And ever since we’ve achieved that – we’ve just gone backwards again by finding new ways of manipulating and warping reality through photography and photo manipulation.
Looking at it, it’s like reality has become ‘not good enough’. Taking a normal picture of one of your friends just randomly, casually as what is there in the moment is now ‘not good enough’ anymore. It’s a ‘bad picture’ even though it merely just shows what happened to be in front of the lens at that particular moment. Unless a picture has been edited, it has already lost all interest. It's just 'too boring'.

So now we live in a society which makes use of visual stimulation such as pictures extensively. We have things like tv, the internet, magazines, books, advertisement, etc. Each time these visual media will show us something which is surreal – unreal really. And we’ve become so accustomed to it that we don’t even notice it. We now actually believe that we live in this surreal reality that and that we’re just not ‘matching up’. We’re never good enough, we’ll never look as perfect as those people on tv / pictures / magazines. I mean, there’s a reason for that, it’s because they’ve been made unreal/surreal so it’s not practically possible to become that way and yet we will buy into whatever product/service that promises us to get a step closer to such a state of being, while all the while it’s impossible = the perfect consumerism trap.
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