Monday, September 8, 2014

Statement of Purpose for the Photo Essay

I have two main goals for this project: to become more versatile as a communicator by learning to incorporate images into a text (something with which I have little experience), and to create a piece which will inspire my audience to think critically about the commonplace. Specifically, I will introduce to the audience the idea that truth is invariably constructed to some extent via signs, whether they be linguistic or pictorial, and that even through such seemingly transparent media as photography and film, one could only hope to possess a partial representation and not a neutral record of reality. My intentions are ultimately rooted in Socrates's dictum that "the unexamined life is not worth living." I hope that others may not be dismayed, but fascinated by the perplexity of the world, so that they realize the uniqueness of human life and the necessity of exercising their rational faculties. 

Part of my audience is comprised of my classmates and professor. The larger audience I hope to reach consists of high-school and college-age students whose epistemic attitudes have deviated little from the "commonsense" view of reality (that there is one truth independent of the subject and faithfully conveyed by signs). This group will most likely include those with no background in philosophy or semiotics, and who are not familiar with academic parlance. Despite this, they are insatiably curious about their surroundings and willing to examine themselves and their beliefs. 

My classmates are going to receive my text in an environment which may not be ideal for stimulating intellectual discussion. It is towards the end of their school day and after lunch, meaning that they are apt to feel lethargic and unreceptive to ideas which fail to provoke their interest. Simultaneously, my colleagues are a part of the more general audience I alluded to, who are at a time in their lives when they are establishing new identities in the world. They are searching for themselves and are becoming more and more independent of their nuclear families; therefore, some may reconsider the dominant Weltanschauung. My piece will be an appeal to those seeking alternatives, and an insinuation to those who have never seriously contemplated their most basic assumptions about life.

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