The way they look

Photography as narratives, and how social media is shaping it?

Recently I’ve read some articles that I felt somehow are linked together – one was talking about photography as a narrative medium, what position exactly does it stand? One was about photographs getting censored in IG, and how the platform works is now questionable as technology and the line of ethics blurs, the final one is about how social media shapes our identity.

Why I think they are closely linked because since the development of social media e.g. FB and IG, the use and function of photography has widen and is constantly tied in with our everyday life. Anyone who knows how to use a phone can easily snap a photo to represent something about him/her and post it on social media. Narrating our own stories is easier than ever. It is cheap, fast and skill-less. While this is happening, yes – artists and crafters can easily share works to the world wide public, and art doesn’t have to be something prestige anymore, but some worries about the code of ethics and whether e.g. nude photographs is same as porn. Plus the recent news about images of a murdered victim has been posted on social media, how are we using photography and social media? Should there be some sort of policy? But if one company uses its powers to decree which art can be shown and which art can’t, then art isn’t free. What solutions can there be?

Especially now with teens who are born in the Internet era, they are the cyborgs of constantly documenting their life experiences with images. How are they using photography and social media? How is this culture shaping their identity?


The Unconventional Valentine

(Note: this post can be disturbing)

After the studying of work by Chen Zhe, and those questions her work has imposed on me. I sort of did a small experiment yesterday. Early morning yesterday, I was coughing and sneezing really bad, and all the phlegm was sneezed out onto a piece of tissue. Usually people just roll it up and toss it and throw it in the bin or down the toilet. I don’t do that. I look at it and see what’s going on inside my body. So for the very first time, I took a photo of me holding this piece of tissue with phlegm. And just so happens, it was Valentine’s day yesterday.

Well then I put that photo on my Instagram story. And this is the interesting part. People have messaged me “WTF”, “Ewww”, “Disgusting” which I sort of expected. But one person, messaged me and said, isn’t it satisfying to blow out all that crap. Haha.

To be honest, my intention wasn’t even an experiment. I didn’t really care about whether it was Valentine’s day either. I just thought the picture looked beautiful. To me it doesn’t look disgusting at all. It is just documenting the fact that they are phlegm. And that – was my fascination. The fascination of what most people called disgusting. The similar sort of questions that Chen Zhe had with her series. My questions were: What happens if your fascination isn’t what the world enjoys? And how does it become something that is disliked and avoided?

And then I asked myself, does the artist publish the work because he/she wants it to resonate with others? Maybe. But definitely, I do agree: art helps us to question some very difficult things about ourselves.

Here is the photograph I posted.