A Supposedly Fun Thing

Miami-based artist Mitya Trotsky’s new exhibit, A Supposedly Fun Thing, was created to capture the need to escape the reality of living mundane lives with the help of ‘managed’ fun.

A Supposedly Fun Thing

The Miami-based photographer used a telephoto lens to capture thousands of images of cruise ships leaving Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He took front panoramic views of the grid structure (corresponding to a lateral side of the floating palaces) from balconies where people wave to spectators at a distance.

The result is what Trotsky calls “a visual anthropology” across the full spectrum of the human species: singles, couples, mature couples, seniors, married with children, newlyweds and gays. A collection of cruise ship balcony photos forms this curious exhibit currently on view at Miami’s ArtMedia Gallery.

A Supposedly Fun Thing

The title of the exhibit represents the beginning of David Foster Wallace’s famous essay based on his own cruise experience. Trotsky discovered Wallace’s essay after initiating this project, but believes it truly expresses any thinking person in the cruise experience.

The glossy surface and success of the cruise industry is in direct contradiction to visual testimonials, represented by the photos.

The ambivalence of the cruise ship’s passengers forms the core of Trotsky’s artistic explorations and directly draws on the classic age of infinite reproducibility.

Mitya Trotsky
[Mitya Trotsky]

As a contemporary art form, photography is simply a medium, a way to express different meanings, according to Trotsky, focusing on inner beauty that is thought provoking, lasting longer in one’s conscience.

By consistently using the same camera position, the artist sketches a story of escapism, in which a timeless atmosphere of loneliness and search for stability are captured.

A Supposedly Fun Thing

Trotsky explores the theme of loneliness via life-size portraits, video projections and ship facade panoramas.

The mass of visually repetitive images transform themselves into symbols—the medium is used to show something hidden.

A Supposedly Fun Thing

“This project is very special for me in many ways. First of all, because it took a decent amount of my lifetime – over two years to produce, after making more than 7,000 shutter actuations. I remember the British movie Trainspotting where drug addicted teenagers followed and monitored the trains. In my early 40’s and being absolutely clean, I was ship spotting for purely photographic reasons. I stay in one place and life is passing by in front of me in the form of cruise ships and its passengers.”

Trotsky saw the images as a sort of family album; having this particular viewpoint of the cruise ships allowed him to watch the passengers enjoying the first moments of their journey. He used a variety of cameras, including single-use Kodaks.

Over that two-year period, his only concern was capturing humanity “in its naked form”.

If you’re down this way, check out A Supposedly Fun Thing.

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