For my Studio Practice 2B project I wanted to explore something positive in the emotional sphere, something related to the feeling of happiness.
Once two different people asked me the same question with a difference in a few days. They wanted to know if I’m happy and I answered that I’m trying to be. One told you can’t try, you can either be or not be happy. The other told, only you can make yourself happy. I have a great respect to both these people and I wanted to find out who’s right, so I started to try being happy even harder. I decided to devote more time to enjoyable activities and to pay more attention to everything pleasant in my life. In other words to focus on positive emotional response. The result wasn’t immediate, but after about a year I really began to feel emotional lift. In my language there is a proverb that only idiots are happy. Well, now I’m proud to be one of them.
So my aim of the project is to explore what are these clues of happiness for different people. In most cases these clues are small things that make us feel good. Scientific studies and different surveys show that one of the steps to the happiness is paying attention to meaningful moments of a day and life in whole and these could be as simple as playing with a pet or meeting a friend. I began asking friends, family and random interlocutors about their best moments in everyday life. What was interesting about the answers, they sometimes repeated even thou the number of people I asked was less than 20. Among the reiterations was sunrise and sunset, tasty food, first cigarette in the morning, meeting loved ones and going to bed. I think these reiterations can be explained by some similarity of lifestyle. Thus, I narrowed project idea to a favorite moment of an ordinary day.
Although I love monochrome photography and get aesthetic pleasure from seeing the world without distracting pigments, I’m planing to shoot in colour because it makes photographs look more casual, less dramatic comparing with the strict black and white documentary style. Actually, the images will be documentary, but I believe the colours will make them appear emotionally closer and understandable to a viewer, like snapshots. The reason I want to achieve this connection with a viewer is more than a desire to tell stories of others, it’s about telling a viewer about himself or herself as well, an attempt to remind that sometimes good things come in small packages and we just need to value those small moments that make us happy.
I’m going to use digital camera to have more control over results, natural light where available and appropriate and a speedlight with white umbrella (to make the light look softer and thus more natural and realistic) if the light won’t be sufficient.
I consider galleries likely to be main audience for this project. For example, White Cloth Gallery in Leeds provides space not only for established artists to exhibit and elevate projects but also for emerging artists to showcase their work. A couple of these photographer. Some of the narrative projects the gallery was exhibiting was Interrogations by Donald Weber and Cardiff After Dark by Maciej Dakowicz.