T H E B E A U T Y O F T R A G E D Y
We live in a capitalistic world controlled by mass corporations, living lives dictated by social norms which are created by ideologies fed to us from television and mass media. Slowly we become what we hear and see. Billboards after billboards of pretentious, perfect commercial smiles, driving us towards the idea that everything communicates better with beauty. Television and advertising are often sexualized because sex sells and we see fake and plastic happy looking people on loan advertisements, which could never quite possibly happen in reality. All of which seems to be a great distraction to the everyday people, “assuring” their life is fine , inciting more expenditure despite the inevitable financial bondages from tuitions and home loans, creating more distractions that makes us neglect the repercussions of over consuming , However despite the constant tsunamis of pretentious smiles and perfect life television and mass media is trying to sell, a portrait of a beautiful tragedy photographed during a violent protest suddenly becomes the world press photo of the year.
The photo, captured by Samuel Aranda during a street protest against the thirty three year long regime of authoritarian president Ali Abdul Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen. It depicts Fatima al – Qaws in a traditional Hajib, which veils her entire body and expression while cradling her son zayed in a warm and intimate embrace while he was suffering the effects of tear gas after the violent protest. The photograph not only encapsulates a certain kind of tenderness from the embrace between the mother and her son with her arms wrapped around him in a gentle manner which posture resembles much of a renaissance painting, but it also creates a great juxtaposition with the mysterious elements from the veil of the mother, which inevitably masks her most probable expression of agony. It also accentuates their innocence as victims of the violent retaliation from the government, making the photograph proof and evidence as a form of social awareness for the adversity of such political outrages in the world, Shedding light to the degree of agony caused by politics towards a world sugar coated by corporate entities. A sugar coated world by corporate entities trained to digest easier with the apparatus of beauty. Perhaps it is why the photograph looks shockingly poetic and tragic and the same time.
Despite the occurrence of tragic moments within the picture, the photograph had been strongly aestheticized and captured in a provocative manner which most likely had contributed to the success of the photo which prior to becoming the press photo of the year, underwent a vigorous amount of curating and vetting by judges and juries who critiques a photographs based on aesthetic means for a media company which seeks to serve the masses. But why is such demand of beauty within a photograph that also seeks to serve the truth so critical and vital? And if such means of curating happens does it not neglect certain information from photographs that are deemed “not beautiful enough” to be publicized? It might all just be due to the way society reads and understand, with beauty and aesthetics being the supreme mediator between information and us.
Although the shot is composed by a man with neither understanding of such circumstances nor understanding of such agony, it eventually leads on to unintentionally portraying the subjects under some misconceptions, but nonetheless some truth towards the agony of the subject resonates and shakes the modern society which is driven by beauty. Then maybe it comes into realization that the beauty and aestheticism is merely a great apparatus in propagating such controversial photographs.
Despite the fact that some truth may never shed light in a world driven by aesthetics and beauty, where things are often prioritized based on the mixed agenda of media companies between profits and journalism there can be a great distortion of information based on the misinterpretations of speculators at times. However, most publications hold a striking balance between truth and beauty, and sometimes only truth can be heard with beauty as an a p p a ra t u s.
Im not sure who gives a shit but , it’s been a tiring first week of school and I decided to head out on sunday to the Rose Bowl Flea with Darrin (bottom) who’s rocking out sick kilt and a ferret. yes. a ferret. Bam. Top that bitches. Rose bowl was an awesome flea market! with great steals from vintage clothing to great film cameras, also great furnitures and home decos! def a place i’d reccomend, basically the chatuchak of LA except you have chances of finding past seasons givenchy and chanel. I’m defo gonna come back for more. peace out.
With love , Hyu