Four our first assignment, we were tasked with finding a story. We were encouraged to find one that isn't told through narrative, but rather through a powerful image or by some other means.
I thought about the images I'd seen in the past few years that have really moved me, and eventually remembered a poster I had seen in the subway that stuck out in my mind as particularly moving. It wasn't moving in any dramatic sense, but it did achieve a rare feet: it perfectly captured a character.
Louie has not only been one of my favorite tv shows since it premiered in 2010, but a big inspiration for the work I've done and would like to do in the future. It's fearless, has no regard for convention, and is decidedly funny. Good comedy does not always make you laugh. In Louie's case, it even borders on tragedy.
To that end, this poster does a wonderful job of capturing a specific character in a specific place. the New York City of Louie cares as little about him as he cares about his audience. It's unrelenting but fabulous. It's careless but not without a sense of humor. Within this place, Louie is victimized, and what makes it so funny is his utter lack of effort in fighting it. He simply accepts his victimhood, and welcomes his powerlessness to change it. He indulges in his smallness, in his indistinct non-specialness, and awaits the next tragedy of his life with a quart of ice cream.
This images tells that story, by painting a familiar scene of discarded newspapers swirling helplessly in the vortex of New York City wind and exhaust. Like the papers, Louie is swirling around the city too, hoping to survive.
And then, the story really begins. Without any regard for Louie's situation, the city itself deems him unworthy of reprieve and sends a paper flying into his face. It's tragic, it's silly, and it's so Louie if you know the show. If you don't, it's a great introduction to him.
And, he does nothing. He doesn't raise his hands to his face to try and remove it. He doesn't get angry. He doesn't keep walking. He simply accepts it. He can't even do it elegantly. He just stands in wonder at how shitty his luck can be.
This image challenges us to finish the story on our own. Does he get rid of it? Does he yell at the top of lungs? I think he just keeps walking, and that makes me smile.