Whilst speaking to Julia about my contact and the project and the ways I could present it, I began putting forth some speculation about the images I was getting and the information I was receiving. Although the project is looking at a migration, and a voluntary one at that for economical reasons, I was finding it strange that all the images I was receiving, were all pretty glamourized and ‘big moment’ aspects of photography. There was none of the everyday as such. Images show big smiling, happy faces and this representation of beautiful scenery and landscapes that seem to say, ‘look at my life, isn’t it wonderful?’
I found it quite odd that this was the representation that I had been given and it has lead me to question whether this is a choice of representation. Do we choose to represent ourselves in the best light possible because that is how we want to be seen, even if it isn’t the whole version of the truth? I think in the case of this project, the fact that I have been presented with a very glamourized version of a lifestyle could have something to do with this.
A lot of what I have discussed is pure speculation, but the fact that my participants are only showing me certain parts of their lifestyle, leads me to wonder why it is they can’t or won’t show me the more menial sides of their lifestyle. I also have not felt bold enough to ask certain questions to my participants such as if they are happier out in France than they were in England. This is because I am unsure as to whether the images shown are to also help convince themselves that they are happier out in France, even if they may not always be. I feel that it could also have something to do with finances and their economical situation. Are they living the dream with plenty of money, or are they making ends meet in regards to their lifestyle and their business, or are they somewhere in between?
These are questions that I feel should be important to ask, but at this time, I feel it is maybe something they do not wish to talk about or discuss and they are happier to represent themselves as a happy family with lots of memborable moments in this new location. There are many reasons as to why someone may want to show themselves in a certain way or present themselves in this manner, and due to the participatory nature of this project, I feel it would be unethical to ask them to show or present a side of their lifestyle that they are not happy to exhibit to a wider audience.
I do not want to ask the questions to my participants because I feel it may annoy/upset/etc. them and I do not want this to happen. I just wanted to consider the reasons behind not receiving a full story or a more intimate look into their lives and it could be down to the fact that they just do not want to show this side of their lives, because maybe they do not want to realise it or maybe it does remind them they aren’t necessarily fully happy or living the dream as much as they would like people to think.
This, I feel, is maybe one of the reasons why I have the images I do as well as the text I do, and is also a reason as to why I am not going to try to push them further to dispel this idea of a glamourized life because at the end of the day, this may be the representation of themselves that they want to show and that they are comfortable showing to me and others, and therefore I would like to respect this, but just try to show it in the most sensitive way possible that doesn’t make it appear all too glamourized. I would like to be able to give it a semblance of the norm, but I also want to be respectful of my participants and their wishes, as well as the things unsaid.