The idea of core identity through paintings and photography

The essay The idea of ‘core identity’ through paintings and photography analyzes the concept of core identity in the context of art and photography. Sociological imagination is the way in which we stratify ourselves within our society and plays a large role in how we create our own identity. By linking our own personal experience with the collective understanding of what that represents, we classify not only ourselves but others within specific social groups. An example of how this process works is found in the writings of Edward Said. Said makes three observations. The first one centers on the idea that the term ‘Orient’ refers not to the truth of the geographical region, but rather to an idea that has been developed in the minds of Europeans. This idea tends to group all individuals of the Middle East and East as belonging to a single cultural and religious sector. Although not based on actual truth, this concept is naturally present in the European culture in the form of academic and other social institutions, the established vocabulary, the imagery utilized and the colonial styles. Secondly, ‘the Orient’ has been established as the Other, allowing the Europeans to define themselves as a colonizing country against the inferior culture they had themselves defined. Finally, building off of the ideas proposed by Michel Foucault, these distinctions made between Orient and Occident as well as the vocabulary, imagery and other sanctioned discussion regarding it, has confined the Orient.

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