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art imitating art imitating life.

there are several photographs i’ve taken over the years that remind of movies. they were never intentionally taken for that purpose, but i instantly think of the movie now and can no longer separate the two:

the royal tenenbaums:

she and her brother richie ran away from home one winter and camped out

in the african wing of the public archives.


the big lebowski:

smokey, this is not ‘nam. this is bowling. there are rules.


alice in wonderland:

Caterpillar: By the way, I have a few more helpful hints. One side will make you grow taller…

Alice: One side of what?

Caterpillar: …and the other side will make you grow shorter.

Alice: The other side of what?



so in the age old question, which one is it? does life imitate art or does art imitate life? i am most certainly inclined to believe that art imitates life. first there was life – art came afterward. right? maybe not. but that’s how i tend to think of it. i certainly believe that that’s how it began, although some people live their lives as though imitating movies, desperate housewives, etc. now. but originally, art definitely imitates life. do you agree or disagree?

but of course, as illustrated above, art also imitates art. it can be intentional or unintentional, but it still happens. the works of others are inspiring or, in some cases, so uninspiring (or just outdated) that we feel compelled to create a new and improved version. sometimes we are awesome at that (the new star trek movie) or we fail miserably (i really wanted to like the new willy wonka, but it became painfully clear within the first scene of the movie that we were in for the longest and most painful 115 minutes of our lives).

typically photography is one of the few art forms where you are trying to capture real life in candid moments. of course, we also pose our subjects and often pose, frame, and edit in artsy ways.  photographers make a habit of imitating life and imitating art simultaneously. we want it to be real, but we also want it to be creative and artsy. but then again there are different types of photographers…

it gets a bit confusing, doesn’t it. i guess that’s why it’s one of the age old questions.

the one photograph i have that i can truly say best represents art imitating life:


every christmas we have a town underneath our tree. in the past it has been full of victorian mansions, castles, quaint coffee shops, unique mom and pop shops, etc… until last year when we found a ceramic wal-mart and decided that it absolutely had to be placed under the tree.  so last christmas all of the tiny shops barely surviving in this economy lost their business, as you can see above, when all of the townspeople made a mad dash for the wal-mart (note the bus parked outside and the sniper on the roof). now all we need is a cereamic mcdonalds with a mccafe and christmas tree town will be complete!…until Sal, the last survivng monster town cat after Button and Tang, goes on a rampage and destroys the city the next morning. but i guess that doesn’t happen in real life, does it. kind of a shame considering a giant monster cat would be awesome and we could all use one less wal-mart.


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