Written by Amy Moore.
Article written to accompany a creative, photographic interpretation of the Russian fairytale The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish, penned by Alexander Pushkin, which dates back to the early 1830s.
The narrative is simple and has underlying tones of greed and ambition.
When an old and poor fisherman captures a Golden Fish – to his surprise – he is promised any wish in return for its freedom. Shocked, he decides to set the fish free. His wife becomes angry by his decision and asks the fish for one small request. One request leads to another, and then another, and then another. She soon receives everything she could ever dream to have. However, the fisherman’s wife’s requests soon become so extravagant that the Golden Fish decides to cure her greed by placing her back in the impoverished state she began with.
Dreams are almost always motivated by people’s personal goals and endless ambitions.
They could be as fluid and versatile as the essence that surrounds it, which here is contained in a translucent, spherical-shaped bowl. It could be suggested that the water takes on the symbolic meaning of knowledge. Within our day-to-day lives, we are constantly acquiring new forms of knowledge that changes us and shapes us and soaks into our subconscious.
Within the majority of the images, the subject remains fixated on the fish as if she’s under some kind of enchanting spell. She used to watch the fishes as a child. She’s captivated. It’s as if she’s struggling to wake up. She desires more.
She watches the fishes closely as she slowly drifts into slumber.
Each dream is unique and stems from our own personal subconscious, making the world outside become dull and colourless. As the fairytale suggests, due to her desire for more, the subject remains in a state of human fragility; left almost lifeless as she’s drained by the burdening impossibility of her dreams becoming a reality. The fishes, however, appear to undertake a new lease of life. The fish needs the water to survive, like humans need ambition to fulfill their goals and goals to fulfill their purpose.
It was psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud who believed that every dream was a wish fulfilled (a ‘secret’ wish being masked by a dream), which is outlined in his text The Interpretation of Dreams (1899).
People can lose themselves in their dreams. Others can chose to live through them. Some dreams are so fleeting and ephemeral that only fragments can be remembered once awake. Others are so deep and vivid that they can sometimes be repeated in reality, resulting in what’s commonly referred to in French as déjà vu‘ which translates as ‘already seen.’
In one image, the Goldfish appears to protrude from the bowl, perhaps symbolising an aspect of the dream becoming a reality. It’s the possibility of the subject waking up to a new and more subjective reality.
The one she’s always dreamed of.