Call me skeptical, but I never believed in the “happily ever after” saying, even when I was young. I suppose that is why I was never a fan of the princess series by Disney, and rather favored stories such as The Jungle Book, Lion King and Mulan much more. Interestingly enough, when I came across this series of photographs by Canadian photographer Dina Goldstein, I immediately thought to myself “See! I knew their stories wouldn’t just end up like that.”
Offering alternate endings for these characters in a contemporary setting, the controversies that she stirs up is not the most impacting, but rather the socio-economic realities that she portrays are what truly causes our mind to ponder. Nevertheless dramatic, the scenes she has created in the “Fallen Princesses” series presents a strong contrast between our reality vs the magical ideas of utopia, ultimately questioning us about our perception on the definition of a ‘good life’.
Not shying away from any of the negative emotions such as loneliness, alcoholism and disease just to name a few, this particular series also highlights the stereotypical ideas society still has about the female population, case in point being the “cat lady” Pocahontas and the “housewife” Snow White.
What if the characters in her images were given the same context but not dressed in the same costumes? I think the response would most definitely be different. Say if the character Snow White was replaced by a normal dressed woman, viewers will be able to easily dismiss the image. So what is it about having the connotation of “happily ever after” stripped from her photos here? Dina mentions that this metaphor is able to force “the viewer to contemplate real life: failed dreams, the fallacy of chasing eternal youth, obesity, Cancer, the extinction of indigenous cultures, pollution, ocean degradation and war.” A very promising collection to challenge our judgements fostered by the modern society, enjoy her version of reality at the Fallen Princesses exhibition at Opiom Gallery starting on the 9th of July to the 27th of August, 2015.