Marji Lang’s Happiness

Marji Lang is a travel photographer who is Parisian by origin but has established herself as a nomad in India and South East Asia. Medicine was her first calling, but while she studied in India, she fell in love with the natural beauty of the people and the landscapes. The vibrancy radiating from her photographs displays Lang’s love for the region – viewers are whisked away on a celebrated tour of a medley of countries. Lang displays remarkable respect and affection for her subjects: a notable feat considering the mainstream perspective of exoticism often taken by outsiders to the culture.

In this particular work, a young girl skips in a column of light, her brilliant orange dress swishing playfully around her legs. She appears to be floating above the ground, as if her lighthearted sense of adventure transcends the gravity that weighs the rest of us down. Her path appears to be laid out in front of her in a beam of sunlight. We can’t see where she’s coming from or where she’s going, but we know that if she approaches her future with this same childlike wonder, she will surely charm everyone in her wake. She focuses her attention downward, seemingly oblivious to the photographer as she concentrates on moving one step at a time.

The composition of this photograph is beautiful, and one can’t help but admire the blissful serenity of the moment. The blue walls that surround the girl create a peaceful and almost otherworldly atmosphere so different to the brick and cement environment most of us reside within. The emotions that define this photograph come from two distinct sides. There is what exists in the moment: the pure happiness of a girl making her way through the city. On the other hand, we as viewers begin to pine for a place that we don’t have access to outside of images. We are reminded of the simplicity of youth because we remember it as a series of glowing, nostalgia-inducing vignettes. With art acting as both the conduit and catalyst, it can be incredibly intoxicating to revel in the imagined world this image brings forth in our imaginations.

Where does this piece take you?