Diminishing Returns* uses photography, aspects of social media and found objects to acknowledge the complicated reality of striving for a meaningful existence while being endlessly pursued by the desire to consume. This relationship is presented through the questionable nature of the photographs in this exhibition. What is constructed? Or what is purposefully arranged with care?
I often find myself considering what photographs mean to us as they’ve become such a unique and present part of our physical and digital lives. It’s not that the image has lost power so much as it has become an undercurrent that ripples through everything we do.
With that in mind, it’s also relevant to question how we choose to use photographs to present ourselves, and in some sense choose to commodify our lives. No one can blame us for trying to actualize our best self — but it’s fair to wonder if this process is another version of the flailing American Dream, where success is more anecdotal than actual.
How do we see our identity take form in the age of consumerism? Perhaps the language of advertisements and objects of consumption can be repurposed — allowing us to see through the haze and acknowledge that care for ourselves and each other is the ultimate liberation.
* Diminishing Returns is referential to an economic principle which refers to the point at which profits gained are less than the additional investment. But I also mean this as a reference to the output and nature of producing as an artist, as a persona on social media, how photographs may be perceived, or in a greater sense where any single person’s hard work may not necessarily equate to “success.”
Credits: Brandon Forrest Frederick