Narrative is the way that artists and designers can communicate their messages to their target audience. It is through narrative that the viewer of a piece can follow the thinking behind the work and hence it is a vital part of any work of design. However as I discovered while discussing the matter in the lecture’s group workshop, narrative is not always as it appears as you may be looking at one thing while being told or directed through narrative to see it as something else. I find this idea very interesting but at the same time very unnerving as in our modern and very visually based world a lot of what we see has been carefully planned out so we see only what the designers want us to see. With this in mind I have found myself analysing pretty much everything in my life and trying to determine whether I’m looking at a genuine thing or something that has been dressed up to sell me something or make me think of something in a certain way. It’s very confusing!
Street fashion photography is a good example of this controlled narrative. At a first glance of the photo it appears as if it is just a photo someone has taken of someone else on the street, but if we deconstruct it we can see it is a well thought out piece designed to show a specific narrative. The composition of these photos normally involve one model on a street with no body else around which is obviously not what a real street looks like. The model has been taken to a secluded street for the shoot or the photographer has had the street cleared for the photo to be taken. The model and photographer themselves are both professionals with the model showing they are confident and know how to present themselves for the photo and the lighting and way the photo has been taken with high quality equipment shows that the photographer is also a competent professional. From this analysis we can see that despite the photo appearing to be a casual picture taken on the street it is actually a well thought out work with a precise purpose and a controlled and masking narrative. The image of someone on the street has been deconstructed and reconstructed to suit the creators needs yet it retains the initial desired narrative.
Another example of controlled narrative in our lives is the social network, specifically Facebook. I can’t stand the way Facebook and other social medias are raising a generation of vapid and vain idiots whose soul goal in life is to have 500 pretend friends and as many “likes” on some ignorant post on their wall and feel as if the idea of controlled narrative is very strongly linked to what is happening. Social networks are there to show the rest of the world who we are with photos of ourselves, what our interests are and what we think about, however it is only what we choose to show the rest of the world and what we want them to think of us that is displayed. We are in a way reconstructing ourselves in an idealistic way, cutting out the parts we don’t like or don’t want people to know about and creating an alter ego. The generations that are growing up with Facebook (and unfortunately I am part of theses generations) seem to be so concerned with how people see them, as they are constantly on display, that it consumes them and they are becoming faker and faker, slowly losing their grip on reality and entering into the universe of the web. Hence Facebook can be thought of as a very controlled version of narrative over ourselves, one I fear is going to produce a lot of very self involved people.