“A large driving force behind creating this series was actually less about affecting the gay community directly, and more about giving the general population a way to relate to gay imagery which is devoid of sex, victimization, or banality – themes that might usually prevent some folks from connecting,” writes Summers. “The photographs are not documentations, they are dreamy illustrations of what open expressions of love in different cultures *could* look like in the future, more accepting time.” says Braden Summers, who is New York-based photographer and visual artist. Summers travels around the world to capture the special moments that inspires him one way or another.
I never had the opportunity to meet Summer. However, by reading his blog as well as looking at the pictures he took over the years, there is something inside of me making me feel different about his photos. After thinking and examining his pictures for a while, I begin to understand what Summers is trying to present to the viewers — The Silent Message.
As the communication student, over the years, we learned so much about various theories from the courses.We train people how to be presentable in public speaking, we coach the students on the concept of media connection, even we travel to other countries to reach the unreachable groups to tell them about Entertainment Education. Without thinking, people tend to assume that communication is all about using the words. In general, majority of the public believes that communication is the field where people use words to make others feel better. I have to clarify here one more time: Communication is a broad professional study. There is a huge difference between Communication Scholarship and delivering the messages.
Certainly, another form of communication is non-verbal, such as what Summers does. Using the photos to send the messages to the people who are interested. Summers emphasizes that “photos has the power to tell the stories. Looking for emotional connection with strangers. Photos can transform the relationship from one phase to another.” Like the opening quote, Summers uses his camera to take pictures of romantic relationship/ intimate moments among gay community. Summers travels to allow the public to identify the new meaning of “love” from different angle. Come to think of it, everywhere we go, we always see the heterosexual couples are walking around. Their eye contact, their verbal communication shows their passion and dedication in the relationship. Meanwhile, we ought to know the love and the passion among gay community members should not be ignorant. They are here and everywhere.
One of the advantages of using photos is offering the rooms to the viewers in term of their imagination. What we see through our eyes might not match what truly happens in reality. Summers’ pictures on the homosexual couples display the silent love from another group. They deserve the same amount of honor and attention as the normal couples do. By looking at the photos carefully, the smiles in the pictures, the struggles on their faces, the bonding between two partners are shown by each image in front of us.
Pictures have tremendous power. Whenever people organize a protest or advocate for the unfairness, they ought to know photos might be the best voice of all. The silent message will become the voice of many.