We praise people for being “naturally” smart, too, “naturally” athletic, and etc. But studies continue to show, as they have for some time now, that it is generally healthier to praise schoolchildren for being hardworking, than for being naturally gifted. We know now that to emphasize a child’s inherent ability places pressure on that child to continue to be accidentally talented, which is something that is hard for anyone to control. When the children who are applauded for their natural skills fail, they are shown to take the failure very personally. After all, the process of their success has always seemed mysterious and basic and inseparable from the rest of their identity, so it must be they who are failing as whole people. When students are instead complimented and rewarded for their effort and improvement, they tend to not be so hard on themselves. When they fail, they reason, “Well, I’ll work harder next time.” They learn that they are capable of success, rather than constantly automatically deserving of it, and they learn simultaneously that they are bigger and more complex than their individual successes or failures.
The Pink Choice
Even though many people seem to be open about homosexuality, it turned out to be untrue when I showed people photos of homosexual couples in intimate moments. Most of them found the photos disgusting and unacceptable. This reaction was a source of inspiration to me. My goal was to make photos about homosexuals that incite feelings of romantic love that is natural and beautiful. I chose to capture casual daily activities of the couples that can be familiar to anyone. By doing so, I hope to make the audience become interested, then gradually empathize with homosexual people.
Many projects/artworks on homosexuality in Vietnam tend to focus on either deviances (especially in movies, with images of homosexuals portrayed in ridiculous clothing and make-up, mincing, shrewish or rude manners…) or symbolic images. In photography, homosexuals are not presented as themselves in pictures. And if they are, they’re usually photographed from behind or with masks on. These all foster weird and absurd images of homosexuals rather then present more understanding perspectives. In turn, homosexuals become even more intimidated and isolated.
The Pink Choice has a different approach as it seeks out personal stories using direct language: documentary photography to capture real moments and real people.
Moreover, stories about homosexuality in Vietnam and also in the world usually end in tragedy, especially in movies. On one hand, this tragic style of storytelling can make audience become more sympathetic and understanding of the difficulties that homosexuals experience. On the other hand, the drama of homosexuals can also cause misunderstandings that lives of homosexuals are vulnerable and regretful, and that the choice to “come out” is an incredible effort against the community’s way of life. The point is, in real life, there are many homosexual people who live happily with their identity. There are homosexual couples who love, nurture and build a happy family life together.
The Pink Choice is a series of photos about the love of homosexual couples which focus on living spaces, the affectionate touches, and more importantly, the synchronized rhythm of lovers sharing life together. Viewers may not feel the personalities of the subjects in the photos, but hopefully they can feel the warmth of their love and caring. In way, I wanted to show what I see of homosexual people and not how they see themselves.
Photographer: Maika Elan
HOW CAN WE BE HAPPY ?
Once a group of 50 people was attending a seminar.
Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity. He started giving each one a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.
Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing around others and there was utter chaos.
At the end of 5 minutes no one could find their own balloon.
Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it.
Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker began— exactly this is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.
Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness.
And this is the purpose of human life.