Have you ever heard of “sentimental consumerism”? Even if you have never heard of it, be sure that either you, or some acquaintance of yours, or both are or have been affected by this underlying “virus” of the modern era.
What is sentimental consumerism? It is nothing more than the projection of the lifestyle for the consumerist note of all today’s occidental civilization, applied to feelings. To be clear: what is consumerism? Consumerism is the idea that we are all on this Earth as “consumers” or customers, of something and someone. Some might argue that sellers, in reality, have always existed since the world began. It is true, however, the difference, compared to the past, is that now the sale or, on the contrary, the purchase of a product is no longer something functional to a person’s life, it is life itself. We open our eyes in the morning and from the bar at breakfast, from a snack at the supermarket, lunch at the restaurant, shopping in the evening in the supermarket or online, every single hour of the day is marked by purchases and suggestions for purchases.
Buy and consume
We spend the 24 hours of a typical day buying and consuming; do we do it even when we sleep since we often dream of what we would like to buy tomorrow?
Why are we rich? No, or at least not all, very few in reality; this happens because things have lost value and therefore are bought with little.
The example of a pair of shoes finds frequent use in these situations: what do you do today if the sole of your shoes comes off? You throw them away, partly because (as they are produced in Asia and therefore “of little value”) you paid little for them, partly because there is no longer a concept of shelter. Rather I buy, I don’t repair.
And so on, applying the same discourse not only to shoes but also to clothes, accessories, furniture and whatever else you can think of.
So far, it is very likely that the reasoning is also coming to you and that you basically agree with my premise. But perhaps you are wondering: yes, but what does all this have to do with feelings? And even more: what is right with photography?
Trust me, I’ll get there.
The point is that by dint of applying it slavishly every day to the many purchasing choices to which we are subjected, it happened that, in the end, this virus made its “species leap” in its own way, passing from “objects” to “subjects” “, From things to people, from commercial to personal relationships.
I’ll give you some brutal examples to explain me better: how many friends do you have on Facebook? 100? 200? Well, how many of these would you call in the middle of the night if you happen to be in trouble and need urgent help? Well I’m willing to bet that there are less than a dozen.
Here is a demonstration of how consumerism has in the end also affected the way in which we manage our relationships that have simply transformed from relationships into numbers; friends, acquaintances, but also partners accumulate, as if they were money in the bank. But the substantial difference compared to the money secured in a credit institution is that we will never have the opportunity to spend these accumulated reports, they are empty to lose.
Relationship and sentimental consumerism
In couple relationships, sentimental consumerism has led to the boom in dating websites where almost everyone is looking for a one-night stand as if tomorrow no longer belongs to us. We live couple relationships in the present time only, without building, without “repairing”. There is a problem? Let’s close it here! Today. And tomorrow? And who thinks more about tomorrow!
But if tomorrow becomes empty it is a disaster because my tomorrow, today, will be my yesterday the day after tomorrow. And so if we make sure that tomorrow is always empty, devoid of meaning, devoid of planning, of commitment, even of sacrifice, I would say, it will end that in a few years, looking back, we will see our past time as a sequence of gaps, perhaps facts. of experiences and encounters there and then pleasant, but in the end inconsistent, to the point that we will not remember even one.
But my dream is always to be able to remember one by one all the days of my life, even the less pleasant ones. I do my best in my work as well as in my own relationships with this in mind; to make that today that fate has given me the lot to live a memorable day to remember tomorrow.
Sounds cool? Not always. In fact, I do not hide from you that if in some ways my nature has led me to achieve great results in professional terms, on the other hand it often leads me to experience heavy frustrations when, that commitment I was talking about before, I do not find it in who surrounds me, be it a partner or a collaborator.
When this happens, alongside an underground sense of anger, a certain level of displeasure always resurfaces because I realize what this person, I repeat, partner or collaborator, is giving up, not committing himself to his, in some case also “ours”, tomorrow.
Thinking about it, perhaps my desire to remember, to stop time, to give immortality to memories, to lived situations, led me to become a photographer. On the other hand, what is an image on film, if not an attempt to give a tomorrow to something that is happening today?
It often happens to me, looking back at the shots taken over all these years, to be able to perfectly recreate in my mind the flow of thoughts I had in my head at the exact moment I was taking that particular photo.
It is an exercise that is sometimes pleasant, sometimes painful. It’s nice when I happen to see incredible places I’ve been again, when I see photos of my growing son; it is painful, for me as I believe for everyone, when in the memory album I browse the faces of people who have been important to me and who are now gone.
Photos and relationships
Those are the cases in which photography has managed to give a future time to a relationship to which we, sentimental consumers, did not want to give a tomorrow.
Once, when there were no digital cameras or smartphones with 41 Megapixel resolution, when you had to wait 2 days to see the photos and paid them handsomely one by one, once we were much more careful every time we had to take a shot.
We took care of it, we designed it and if then maybe, once we developed the roll we discovered that it was moving we would get angry as well.
Not today; today take a picture and even if it sucks you leave it in memory or the baskets; just click on “delete” and you are ready to take another one.
The problem is that with this “delete” button, the clutch has escaped a bit lately and, by abusing it, we delude ourselves that we can also use it in personal relationships, just where, instead, we would need to press the “save” button more often.
The fact is that, in the end, however much we can fill ourselves with relationships, friendships, goods and riches of any kind, the truth is that at the end of “our hourglass” only the important things we have lived will count, those experiences and relationships that they have upset us for better or for worse, the ones that inspire you the best photos if you think about it, the ones for which there will never be a delete button …