'Because things don’t appear to be the known thing; they aren’t that what they seemed to be neither will they become what they might appear to become.'
Posted by Ben Hendriks and Tessa den Uyl
|On the beach, Majorca, 1961|
The strange thing is, that these two holidaymakers - our mothers - seem to stay in the background of the Pepsi bottles they hold up and yet it is the decade that Pepsi launches its publicity: ‘Come alive, you’re in the Pepsi generation!’ Our mothers seem to have also provided, unconsciously, the perfect advertisement.
But we, their children, remember, when we saw this picture at a younger age how we were stuck by their joy rather then the Pepsi bottles. Maybe it was because it was taken before the stock value of Pepsi would rise relentlessly, or maybe it was because we saw two familiar figures outside of their ordinary circumstances and we were intrigued at discovering them in a way which was somehow unknown, and evoked a sense of freedom to us... but certainly not that freedom Pepsi intended with its slogans.
Was our reaction due to nostalgia for a decade we had not seen? Was it due to the two bottles being held up that symbolise a friendship? Or merely that it is our mothers captured in the moment? Or was it due to the composition of the photo that, with the two men in the background and the two trees at the outer left compose good diagonals with the smiling girls (behind their sunglasses, that un-identify them) plus the two bottles in the foreground, that makes the picture simply 'work'? Is this picture about our mothers - or something else?
The past that is repeated and recognisable doesn’t need linguistic understanding nor cultural knowledge. This photo reflects commodity, but the suggested ideology wasn’t consciously present as it would be if we were to take the same picture today. We can understand this one though as a good stand-in for what it doesn’t represent. Might we then say that a photo can be a testimony to the history it has experienced? Then how reliable is our own perception?