Life Magazine began in 1883 with the goal of showing unique experiences of individuals around the world to the masses. Active until 2000, each publication contained a well-curated group of stories and images to entice readers. The images in each edition appear idealized, hiding away any aspect of imperfection that the human experience might contain. The magazine had a nostalgic, dream-like quality that created a longing in readers. This longing to relive never-experienced memories drove readers to return weekly to consume more fantasies.
Looking at the images in Life Magazine, I can’t help but think of social media today. When I see pictures on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, I tend to take in an idealized version of the person. It feels like presentation has taken precedence over personal experience and we have normalized unrealistic, flawless lives. When people falsify images, their true experience as individuals is lost. False portrayals of self have caused many to yearn for fake experiences, captured for the sole purpose of being digested on social media.
To explore external presentation vs. internal realities, I have used images from Life Magazine to create multiple collages. With liquid adhesive, I have wrapped clippings around framed canvases. By doing this, I explore the feeling of a wrapped gift containing its own internal realities. By cutting away at the image wrapping, I reveal the internal feelings of images hidden under fabricated poses and expressions. The interior emotions of these images are processed through the tangled thread, conveying an influx of complex, repressed emotions with nowhere to go but out.