Due to the imperfections of memory, we often rely on other mediums to help us remember what we often forget about ourselves. Photography is a medium that we have turned to facilitate our memories as it can capture a moment with far better accuracy than our memories. However, photos are able to capture even more than our memories, as they are also able to capture pieces of our nature, giving us glimpses into how we interact with each other. In the presentation last week on photos and photography, we were presented with a number of photos that were supposed to represent lunchtime by the artist Charles Traub, however as he explained, these photos signified something bigger than just lunchtime. They show people, the way they act, the way they feel about themselves and sometimes the way they feel about being photographed. Most importantly, they show us pieces of human nature, which is an important dialogue in this course that we have not touched on explicitly.
The photos from Italy in particular demonstrated the real ability of photos to capture human nature effectively, as the focus was put less on individuals and more on how they interacted with each other. We were able to see people in love, people working, people relaxing and how they each fit into the theme of human nature. In particular, one photo that really stood out was one of a beach, where people were relaxing and one girl was asleep naked. However, in that photo of the beach you are able to fully understand the ideas of tiredness and lack of inhibitions that define the society over in Italy. It shows us a very different view of society and gives us an interesting different example to contrast to our culture. It is this honest moment of rest captured in this photo that provides the different view on the nature of the people and the place. This scene in particular captures what it means to rest, which is an important aspect of our collective human nature. The photo relates different societal pressures to all people at a basic level, which has been an important part of this course from the beginning.
For the theme of humans/nature to really make an impact outside of the classroom, it has to connect with each of us on an individual level, something that connects us together in our nature. Traub’s work was incredibly effective at this because of the very basic level at which he chose to convey his photographs to his audience. With themes as basic as going out to lunch, and life in Italy in the 70’s, he has allowed the general audience to immediately relate to his work. This makes it much easier to introduce people to unfamiliar concepts or to show them something that they might not have wanted to see before. This is what we need for our humans/nature movement and we can see that this method is very effective. All we need to do is learn from his example and make sure our messages are relatable to people everywhere.