Photography by Hannah Concannon
So often in times of conflict, division, and social tension, art, specifically the cultivation of the beautiful, can fall by the wayside. Easily dismissed in favor of direct action, protest, fundraising, or agitating for the cause, creativity can seem a frivolous anathema to the twin battle cries of progress and social justice. And yet, just as the spirit of revolution and standing up for what is right has existed since the dawn of humankind, so to has the creative impulse. The impulse to record, to create, to manufacture aesthetically pleasing imagery, sounds, tastes, experiences, and to make myth. The impulse, the need, to cultivate awe in the face of brutal reality, to craft beauty in the face of sorrow, to spark hope in times of utter destitution, endures. I create imagery with the express purpose of bringing joy, sparking curiosity, and offering escape from bleak reality. In the absence of brightness, opulence, maximalism, and most of all frivolity, my only option for sustaining optimism and hope lies in creating rich, sensory, consuming environments to inhabit, document, and share. If I can muster the courage, the energy, and the will to create frivolous beauty in a time of unprecedented ugliness, if I can unite people with disparate political and social beliefs through aesthetic taste, then I certainly possess the power to enact real social change, one set of eyeballs at a time.