I was thinking about some of the comments I had on the Treasures post about how my children would arrange their stuff and I thought: yeah, ok, but it just looks like a big pile of mess! And then I thought: It’s funny how they don’t distinguish between things of ‘value’ and things which are ‘worthless’; that distinction – of value and worth – is one which society and in turn we as adults make and impress upon them. To them, a gemstone is just as precious as a plastic toy from a magazine, or a shiny sticker, a metal bangle, or a worthless string of glass beads. So I was playing around with ways to juxtapose the imposed order and ‘objects of value’ with the jumble of junk, plastic tat and general disarray which overwhelms any average child’s bedroom – the ‘treasure’ with the ‘trash’ – and I decided to try presenting them in a diptych format, using one of the ‘treasures’ images and also a shot of one of the insides of my daughter’s many treasure boxes. I like the formality and constraint of the diptych layout, but there is a bit of chaos there threatening to burst out.
© images and content Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2013
Lovely images, both of them. I think this pairing also speaks volumes about context for visual information and objects; there are so many conventions about how we privilege certain objects over others – how they are presented, where – and who has the authority to determine what has value and what is trash. Oftentimes, those choices (and who does the choosing) goes unremarked – but there’s tremendous power embedded in that selection process.
Hi Sydney and thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. It’s a very interesting thing, how and why value is determined in our society.
Yes, the entropy of a treasure box. For myself, I still like worthless things. I guess I never grew up.
Of course the triptych is always good: the baubles, the gems, and the melange (le mélange des enfants).
yes, maybe a triptych next… thanks!
Yes, it is later in life (perhaps adolescence?) in which consumeristic notions or habits are introduced.
I think sadly it is younger and younger these days! My children are most definitely products of a consumer society, I fear.
The pairing is lovely. After all, who are we to say something is not a treasure?