M.I.L.K. (Moments of Intimacy Laughter
) was an organization founded to produce a collection of photographs. Split into three volumes, Family
, the objective of the project was to 'capture and celebrate the essence of humanity
'. They succeeded.
Offering a world record prize pool and promoting it as 'the photographic event of our time' they received over 40,000 entries from 192 countries for the coveted 300 places.
The books are exceptionally well produced; every photograph is laid out to exaggerate its beauty. A series of eight family portraits are presented in a foldout over a meter long. A photograph of Kim Phuc as a girl being burnt by napalm in the Vietnam War is separated with a semi-transparency from the photograph of her holding her baby, as though it is protecting him from the horror. Sometimes whole pages are dedicated just to a profound quotation, often from a famous philosophers but also from writers and engineers. The images are chosen for their content not their quality. Sometimes they are just snapshots that turned out well and others are professional prints.
It is pointless to try to describe the photographs. I have tried but I ended up writing an endless string of clichés. Although the images are all of moments we have experienced, these are more real, more perfect than our luke-warm existences. The images are so beautiful they make you shake. I close the book feeling an new emotion, a profound existential euphoria. It is the feeling of being human.
Some of the photographs, including the prize winners, are available online at http://www.milkphotos.com/
The books are easy to get hold of; as long as you live in Australia or New Zealand. There are no current suppliers for the USA, Britain or Canada.