“It’s all very English and very ordinary: a family on a day out taking delight in the simple pleasures of an ice-cream, which they appear to be enjoying more than each other’s company. The picture is very funny, but also a little sad.”
This photo, taken by Martin Parr in 1994, has a lot more depth to it than one would originally think. Reuel Golden’s comment on the image explains this perfectly, and puts words to the meanings of Parr’s image. The fashion shown here is very typical of the 90’s: the mom jeans, baggy shirts and sensible flat buckled shoes. Parr has used flash in the image, which has meant that the people within the photo look superimposed into the image – giving it a surreal look and making the image look more like a painting rather than a photograph.
“One of the photographer’s most famous pictures. The image is a take on the fashion industry and its obsession with using very thin models who border on anorexia. Note how the fabric has been clipped together to accentuate the girls slenderness.” – Ruel Golden
Although I don’t like the photograph visually, the semantics of it are extremely powerful. As Ruel Golden said, the aim of the image is to portray a message -that the fashion industry pushes models to the extreme, especially in regards to their bodies. This image (titled ‘Feeling Hungry’ taken in 1995) is part of a series alongside ‘Dead Fashionable’ (see below).
“A clever title and play on words, with dead meaning the obvious as well as the more slang “very much so”. The photographer here is making the point that the fashion industry will do almost anything to remain fashionable.” – Reuel Golden
These photos are designed to show the fashion industry in a negative light – presenting it’s ‘true values’ and Rankin’s feelings in the form of these photos.
The novel Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding, 1996, follows Bridget Jones, a thirty-something, single woman who lives in London in the 90’s throughout her struggles of maintaining a job and finding a man. Since 2006 the novel has sold over 2 million copies and, as the Telegraph put it, “Fielding’s success in the 1990s meant that Bridget Jones came to define the Chick Lit phenomenon”.
Many parallels can be found between this book and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, most noticeably between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Mark Darcy. Also, Helen Fielding has said in many interviews that Bridget Jones’ Diary was based upon both Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and the 1995 BBC adaptation of it. The decision to cast Colin Firth as Darcy reflects this as he played the ‘real’ Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation.
The Telegraph describes the third new novel Mad About the Boy perfectly, saying “And Bridget also finds herself having to compete in a vastly changed, less innocent world; as one blogger has put it at the weekend, we were all “drunker, thinner, richer” when Bridget started in 1995 – a pre-9/11 age where the housing market was starting to boom, being able to dial 1471 to find out who had called your landline was a thrill and (try to explain this to the twerking generation) a man getting out of a lake in a wet shirt could be seen as the erotic moment of the decade.”
Does this show us, in this decade, in a positive light? Or does it make us reminisce about the “good old days”, when people were more easily amused, and the smaller things made a person happy….?
A new series on Channel 4 follows the main character, Rae Earl, as she struggles to return back to normal life after being referred to a psychiatric hospital for self-harming.
The series has been carefully constructed in order to seamlessly reconstruct the 90’s fashion and attitudes, and achieves this with the help of the amazing soundtrack which includes songs from Oasis, Blur, The Cure and Radiohead, for example.
If you don’t already watch this, I highly recommend catching up. Its an incredibly eye-opening and engaging series which has perfectly recreated the decade.