2001: age of innocence, travelling brings out the romantic and the disaster.

Series of photos taken on film in June 2001 on a conference trip to the US, so couple of months before 9/11. Maybe proper name is 2001, Age of innocence, joy of travelling and photographing the journey. Element of Americana is in the photos of course, artist as a tourist, intimate portraits of performance artists. They resonate today in an interesting way.

What kind of pictures do we take nowadays in comparison to the time before the digital cameras and camera phones? I got my first digital camera 2008 but digital started to boom after 2001. How has our focus changed as a photo is instantly seen and quickly manufactured, spread and shared. What makes a good photograph and a good photographer as we all practice photographing and have cameras in our pockets? Have we managed to achieve skill and eye for perfect photos and how we perceive perfection in a photo and what we choose to publish? Is it the lighting, complicated technicalities, background and flawlessness that is almost artificial which is paid attention to? Maybe issue is the sense of authenticity in a photo, finding something rare, what is a valuable moment and target to film and be made into an object to look at, does it not require skill to manufacture meaning, feeling, ideas of one’s own via photography and what is the one’s own made visible with a method which is mass production. Photography is a method for all to use, it is exploration in a same way as travelling, to know about and master but what does image tell us and what kind of images do we pay attention to, what is the interest today, of today? What are the clichés in picturing and do we recognise clichés we fall for? What are the most photographed places and people? Are they things we like, are amazed by and which qualities have a mass appeal, cuteness, sexiness and size? Repetition is telling. Interest in and imitation of something which doesn’t lose its fun, value or something we want to be, be part of and what we look for in life? Interests of modern people remain curiously unchanged. Important question is how cameras and social media have changed the way we travel and take pictures? How much do we do the going away from everyday and the immortalising of extraordinary or ordinary out of impulses we get via social media, what is the seen there that raises interest and what is value there? How tourists look the same with their luggage, sunglasses, shorts, cameras, they sound the same, do the same very predictable things; tastes and desires don’t obviously vary that much and secure choices have a lure of easiness in them.

Publishing of travel photographs is banal, an everyday thing but it does not lose its charm as doesn’t shopping or partying. Here I am, look where I am and have been to. The further the trip goes the better, but how far are we willing step, what is the ultimate purpose of tourism is the obvious fulfilment and pleasure, intimacy and revealing of self. Is there something extraordinary in this ordinary practice other than the thought of it being special, being free to go, the opportunity and chance. The trip that was one of a kind exploration whatever the destination, relaxed or stressed out, found out something new or something that was expected. Travel photo is an interesting category where beauty of the seen view is emphasised, the experienced weather, location and what we were supposed to experience, surprises, disappointments, troubles or effortlessness of making the trip. Witnessing distant far away beauty and locations is the expectation, people, sights, wonders and happenings. Being part of something distant, new, maybe untouchable and rare but nonetheless not quite unknown. Are the stereotypes of travelling the same as stereotypes of living as we know what we want and want to show the best in us, be the best kind, be in control, having the best light, the fun moments to remember, displaying our interests which are normal and proper, but still we go search something else? To beautify for a photo is something we like doing, tidy up and look your best, pose with others or alone, in front of something. Controlling our image is important, what we show of ourselves. The unescapable banality of posing, looking, looking like the modern lifestyle we own. Travelling today is a sport, a cliché as a whole, how we do it, why we do it, what we make of travelling. As an industry and as leisure activity it amplifies and enhances our personas and lives bringing quality and debt via what it is worth and what can be learned via travelling. It is extraordinary and ordinary at the same time, grand and small, luxurious on one hand, poverty in action and thought: how could something so rich and giving be so poor and lacking?

The things we want of a photo and of a trip is interesting. There is something similar to them which is about fantasy and realising dreams, becoming and reaching out. The word cliché can mean the whole of human existence which we want to picture as it repeats the similar desires over and over again and we like to do it in a mass movement. What does this cliché of ours make of us as we repeat it, hold on to it, like it, share it, think it as something worth while, that something unchanged is safe and good. How does originality come to show in contrast to mass tourism and mass of photos?

How do we measure growth and what is the goal? To grow for us or in the eyes of others? Growth is measured via having gained more, growing bigger, understanding, learning, having, owning, expanding. We like to think there is no end to our growth, there is no end to our needs either. Travelling is a big part of modern life, it signifies the good life, enjoying ourselves, expanding horizons and paradoxically personal growth. To having been there where it is different than where we usually live, having found something exotic and new, something to tell about and compare. What are the things to expand from and how big is enough when nothing is enough? Personal growth we perceive and examine via where we come from and what is the essence of us that is to be cultivated. Travelling is a place of change but what changes? What is the starting point and what are the possibilities, individual potential and interests, how we perceive our own individual growth as human beings, how necessary it is, what is it and how we appreciate it. What is the needed change there? What is personal growth worth to us and which qualities we like to see grow in us and us growing towards the world?

What happens when we move and take up going? A relief, a release, sense of self letting go, achieving and going through a process. It is a process to which we usually must prepare for, a state of mind which is chosen. We think about going, we get ready mentally and take care of official matters that must be in order for travelling to be possible and we will not be turned away, be without money, accommodation and information about our destination. Plans must be there ready so we know where we are going and what to do when we get there. We don’t want anything drastic to happen but we are prepared, aren’t we. To get lost in a strange place is scary. Interesting is how we either can just go but rather choose not to, fear is keeping experimentation at its minimum. Preparation for safety is a ritual where one takes care of oneself before, during and after the trip. Also place where one is based must be in good order to come back to. We don’t want to go back to problems, mess and stress, unpaid bills, uncleaned home, messy relationships. That is an ideal place to get going.

Infantile culture that does not wish to grow up because it insists on being on the right even when it constantly stands on the wrong.

It is a culture which adores youthfulness and narrow beauty standards and wishes everyone to follow and want the same, believe the same lie of what is beautiful and what is worth while to pursue and reach for, worth while to dream about. All the people who want to represent the same image of clean perfection with piles of  money is a weird world of brainwash, manipulation and greed, idea that you do not have any other alternative than to fit in, that any other kind of success is not possible because it would not be success. It is a monoculture even though it is said to have been a melting pot without having melted much in, not inhaling but holding breath. Culture that uses surveillance as God is on its side putting oneself on the position of God because it has the right, it is on the right. This culture has clear fascist ideals which it does not admit to be fascist because fascism for them equals Nazism and that is long gone. Fascist ideals which it implements freely without having to deal with the reality of its ideology because it denies every allegation and wrong doing or that there might be anything wrong. Fascism and imperialism which ideologies it also spreads around the globe as good and hugely profitable and therefore accepted. Those who speak against are against all of them, unlikable, rude and terrorists who get propaganda kind of accusations and will be painted malaise. It is not good to be against something that is good, right? Culture of instant gratification, satisfaction that one will want more of because you are worth it. What one is worth in a culture like this is as much as one has wealth nothing more.

Here comes the joke:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-david-letterman-retires-history-top-ten-list-20150501-htmlstory.htmlLetterman’s “Late Show” program on CBS. They were originally intended as a parody of Good Housekeeping magazine’s “Most Admired Men” list.

The topic of the first list was the inauspicious “Top Ten Words That Almost Rhyme With ‘Peas.'”

Yes I love Seinfeld.

After having watched several of her videos the experience was numbing.

If she was a boy.
To analyze music videos of this day, what kind of purpose they serve is clear and at the same time culture of music videos hold an irritating simplicity of necessity. I have been studying Beyoncé’s musical artistry and thinking how should I study them, her pieces of art. What to make out of this block other than what has been said before. Videos which do not represent originality nor does her style travel far from mainstream, but they are recognizable and style of hers is particular. That little bit pops out, but only a little bit popping out. She has her dance moves which label her and make her mark. She has her dancers as do many pop singers. They follow her in the back. Something old and something of her own, but not alone. Most she is familiar via her body which is well in front, in the middle. In focus are her curves. They seem to be the main subject and at core of femininity. Her body is praised and it is seen as emancipation and empowerment of womanhood to walk the way she walks. Self-consciously walking straight ahead. Movement is her weapon. A modern woman moves and is active. Her self-assurance is the one feature which makes her noticed and admired among women. She works in a field where women do not have curves other than plastic breasts and in fashion where lank body is a norm.
Yes she has things to say and she says them in music industry’s factory ways. Most powerful videos of hers are those where her sexual expression is not the main issue. Empowerment is a curious conscious choice. To empower oneself from being inferior one needs to build self-esteem and imagine a path for oneself on which one can stand and walk on with certain pride. Take that path without hesitation, it is yours, one’s own way. Which choice everyone must make on their own, which is empowerment via growth, knowledge of self via growing up.

Are music videos about growing up and growing with. Very little is emphasized on mental and emotional growth, which is ironical since the most music made deals with feelings and people’s emotional life.

How the Bey issue is addressed and how feminism is discussed. Do you think her power is in her thighs, is it in her voice, her beauty, her gender, her African-American heritage and in her dance.

Both through song and visuals, we see Beyoncé toasting up all sorts of caviar dreams and champagne wishes, including the following:” 
http://madamenoire.com/333140/beyonce-feminism/
http://www.irishexaminer.com/analysis/what-beyonces-new-release-tells-us-about-sexual-objectification-254323.html

Marketing plus PR equal success. Story solutions, coverage and narrative of divas and making the world a better place for themselves. Times of moral crisis: Explicit contents, sexuality for sale and how it adds up with feminism. What does feminism represent for a pop star and for the music industry?