Read the articles and write a 400 words reflection.

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Compose a thoughtful reflection (minimum 400 words total) that connects the themes in Modules 9-12 to: text, self, and world. Make certain that your submission is formatted so that the section title is properly labeled in bold (i.e. Module to Text, Module to Self, Module to World) and is followed by your comment for that specific section. Write the word count on the top of your submission (In Microsoft Word go to Tools>Word Count)



Module-to-Text: Make a strong connection between the module contents and a book or article that you have read outside of class and bold the title of the book/article.



Module-to-Self: Make a strong connection between the module contents and something in your own life experience and bold the name of the life experience.



Module-to-World: Make a strong connection between the module contents and an event happening in the world today (i.e. current news event) and boldthe title of the current news event.

Lecture 9: Reframing America Required Reading The readings for this module are pdf articles available for download. "Reframing America" by Terence Pitts "The Family of Man A Reappraisal of 'The Greatest Exhibition of All Time'" by Bill Jay Lecture This module explores both, the aspects of immigration revealed through photographs taken by immigrant artists from an exhibition titled "Reframing America: Through the Eyes of Seven Immigrant Photographers", and the commonality of mankind as portrayed in the seminal photography exhibit The Family of Man . "Reframing America: Through the Eyes of Seven Immigrant Photographers" "Reframing America: Through the Eyes of Seven Immigrant Photographers" was originally one exhibition in a three-part exhibition series titled "Points of Entry," that was organized collaboratively, though curated individually, by the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, CA; the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, AZ; and The Friends of Photography/Ansel Adams Center for Photography in San Francisco, CA. Alexander Alland, Robert Frank, John Gutmann, Otto Hagel, Hansel Mieth, Lisette Model, and Marion Palfi, are seven photographers who came to America during the period between 1920–1950. Millions of people left their homelands during that time to seek a better life in America. Often fleeing war, revolution, and persecution, they came in search of freedom, as well as economic and artistic opportunity. The photographers in this exhibition were among these immigrants. Their work speaks of life in America and of their feelings and experiences as immigrants in a new land. Like the farmers, laborers, teachers, and musicians who came to America as immigrants, these artists had ideas and dreams about what their new country would be like. Partly because they looked at America with fresh eyes, and partly because the America they found did not always correspond to the America they expected, their photographs sometimes addressed issues that continue to haunt this country: poverty, injustice, and intolerance. At the same time, they recorded uniquely American themes such as the mass consumption of consumer goods, jazz, and our nation’s love of the automobile. These artists also brought European equipment, ideas, and training with them, which was to have a tremendous influence on American photography. The result was a startling new vision of America. Alexander Alland Alexander Alland was born in Russia in 1902. He became interested in photography as a boy and made his own camera out of cardboard when he was twelve. In 1923, fleeing civil war in his homeland and then again in Turkey, he came to the United States on a steerage boat. He was just twentyone years old. On his second evening in America, he stood in Times Square in New York City, completely fascinated by the people, the cars, the city lights, and all things American. For Alland, being an American meant sharing "the desire for happiness, prosperity, and liberty," no matter what one’s racial or national background might be. In his photography, he respected and celebrated things that made people different. At the same time, he sought to capture themes that unified people of many backgrounds. His own experience gave him insight into the conflict that immigrants still face between their desire to keep and remember the languages and traditions of their old country and the need to learn the skills necessary to succeed in their new country. Alland died in 1989. Alexander Alland Untitled, 1948 Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona © Estate of Alexandra Alland Alland’s photograph of a newspaper stand shows us evidence of a multicultural society, one where many languages are spoken. A non-English speaking immigrant would have needed to find work and a place to live and would surely have welcomed a newspaper written in his or her native language. Alland photographed this scene from eye level rather than from above or below. This angle makes the view like our own, as it would be if we were walking up to the newspaper stand. Questions to consider: * What is the first thing you notice in this photograph? * Why do you think Alexander Alland made the rack of newspapers his subject? * How many different languages can you count in this photograph? * What adjectives would you use to describe how you would feel in a new country where you did not understand the language? * What are some of the things you would be concerned about? Alexander Alland Photomontage, c. 1943 Gelatin silver print Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York © Estate of Alexandra Alland In the 1940s, Alland experimented with different ways to display photographs. He produced large photomurals (billboard-size photographs) for the public library in Newark, New Jersey. He also collaged many photographs into one image. A good example of the latter is his Photomontage, which depicts well-dressed American children from many racial backgrounds. Their images overlap a large map that shows where various ethnic communities have developed in the United States. Their teacher is pointing out locations on the map. Note: the teacher is the photographer’s wife, Alexandra, and the pupil on her right is their son, Alexander Alland, Jr. Questions to consider: * What do the words "America—A Nation of People from Many Countries" in the photograph mean to you? * How can you tell that this is a made-up scene rather than a real scene? * What is the first thing you notice in this work? Why do you think you noticed it first? * What adjectives would you use to describe how the children look and feel? * Do you think this is a realistic interpretation of life in America for these children at that time? Why or why not? * How can you tell that this photographic collage was not created very recently? Robert Frank Born into a Jewish family in Zurich in 1924, Robert Frank was fifteen when war broke out across Europe. While his family was unharmed in Switzerland, he later said that "being Jewish and living with the threat of Hitler must have been a very big part of my understanding of people that were put down or who were held back." Near the end of the war, Frank took up photography as a way of breaking away from the restrictions of his wealthy family and of Switzerland. In 1947 he moved to New York City for a year. Subsequently, he began traveling the world and taking photographs for magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, McCall’s, and the New York Times. Frank’s first impression of America was one of delight. He stated that "when I got to America I saw right away that everything was open, that you could do anything. And how you were accepted just depended on what you did with it." This optimistic opinion of America would change. Over the next seven years, he became disillusioned with the controls the magazines had over his work. In addition, as he experienced the fast pace of life in America and observed the importance Americans placed on money, he saw a country of great wealth, but little joy. After winning a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship in 1955, Frank, his wife Mary, and their two children set off in their car on a series of cross-country trips. Frank’s intent was to document a culture that was uniquely American. The result was the now-famous book of Frank’s photographs called The Americans, which was first published in 1958. Frank’s style of photography and the images he made for The Americans were not widely accepted at first, perhaps because the America that Frank photographed wasn’t the America that those born and raised here saw or wanted to see. Americans viewed his photographs as a harsh criticism of his adopted country. His intention, however, was not to censure America, but to capture the complex American experience. Other artists were among the first to recognize that Frank’s style expressed, in a very personal way, his feelings about this country. What better way to record a distressed society than with odd views, glaring light, and different degrees of focus? Perfection did not have a place in Frank’s troubled and complex vision of America. His approach to photography was not what Americans were used to seeing in pictures. This kind of experimentation broke existing rules in photography and resulted in images that seemed, to some, to lack craft and refinement. The Americans went on to become a major influence for artists during the 1960s because they also identified with Frank’s modern approach to interpreting the world in which they lived. Today, Frank divides his time between New York and Nova Scotia. Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) Charleston, South Carolina 1955-56 Questions to consider: * Where was the artist when he took this photograph? * What was left out of the frame? * What adjectives would you use to describe the feel of this close view? * What adjectives would you use to describe the light in this photograph? * What parts of this image are in sharp focus? What parts are out of focus? * Does having some parts in focus and some parts out of focus add to the mood? How? * What do you notice first? Discuss. * Do you find that this is a confusing photograph? Why or why not? * Do you think that sometimes the world is a confusing place? Explain. Robert Frank: The Americans Robert Frank established a new iconography for contemporary America, comprised of bits of bus depots, lunch counters, strip developments, empty spaces, cars, and unknowable faces. This iconography has b ecome a common coin, [and] here the original acuity of Frank's own sensibility is alive and relevant." -- John Szarkowski, Museum of Modern Art Robert Frank's book The Americans represented a significant challenge to America's image of itself. Frank's pictures broke all the rules of photography. Photography before Frank was pristine: carefully focused, carefully lit. Frank would intentionally lose focus, his work was shadowy a nd grainy, full of unconventional cropping and angles. He broke the rules in order to be true to his vision of America he saw in his travels across the country in 1955 and 1956. Most photojournalism made around the time Frank was photographing The Americans was optimistic and upbeat, reflecting the attitude of a prosperous post-war America. Such attitudes can be seen in the popular 1955 exhibition: The Family of Man. Frank's work clashed with the prevailing trend in photography. In 1958 he wrote: "...I do not anticipate that the onlooker will share my viewpoint. However, I feel that if my photograph leaves an image on his mind - something has been accomplished." When the Americans was first published abroad and in the U. S., it was sharply criticized. But the popularization of the beat movement - the second edition of The Americans featured an introduction by Jack Kerouac - helped Frank to reach a broader and more accepting audience. Frank's once avant-garde style on the 1950's is now taken for granted. We see it daily in print advertisements for jeans or in music videos on MTV. But Frank's original photographs are still extraordinary and surprisingly contemporary. This exhibition at the Juanita Kreps Gallery courtesy of the Addison Gallery of Art - is a rare opportunity to see the vintage photographs that radically changed photography and our relationship to it. -Elizabeth Kunreuther, Curator for the Center for Documentary Studies That crazy feeling in America when the sun is hot on the streets and music comes out of the jukebox or from a nearby funeral, that's what Robert Frank has captured in the tremendous photographs taken as he traveled on the road around practically forty-eight states in an old used car (on Guggenhiem Fellowship) and with the agility, mystery, genius, sadness, and strange secrecy of a shadow photographed scenes that have never been seen before on film. - Jack Kerouac, from his introduction to The Americans. In 1955, the Swiss photographer Robert Frank traveled throughout the United States by car and returned with a bleak portrait of what the American road had to offer. As Kerouac writes in his introduction, Frank's photographs had "sucked a sad, sweet, poem out of America," a sadness found in the forlorn looks of dime store waitresses, funeral attendees, and human faces rendered unrecognizable in the glare of jukeboxes. The slightly offset angles and the blurred focus of many of the photographs suggest the n ervousness and dislocation of the people they capture. Frank dispels any romantic notions of the lingering pioneer spirit of America by presenting a landscape of people and places absent of hope and promise. Though Swiss by birth, Frank traveled the world before settling in the United States in 1953. He eventually befriended the Beat poets (Jack Kerouac wrote the introduction to the book The Americans) and became one of the key visual artists to document this bohemian subculture in both photography and film, including the highly influential cinematic work Pull My Daisy. Like the Beats, Frank sought to reveal the profound tensions he saw in all strata of American society during the outwardly optimistic 1950s. His photographic journey encompasses rich and poor, black and white, north and south, offering a glimpse of what makes these people and places truly American. In 1955, Robert Frank set out to observe and photograph the United States. Supported by a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, he traveled across the country for two years. The result was The Americans, a visionary work and a milestone in the history of photography. Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) City Fathers (Hoboken) 1955 Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) Parade - Hoboken, New Jersey Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) Trolley--New Orleans, 1955-56 Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) Political Rally, Chicago 1956 John Gutmann Born in German in 1905, John Gutmann trained and exhibited as a painter. Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933, he immigrated to the United States. Before leaving Germany, he bought a camera and arranged to sell photographs of America to be used in German magazines. He turned to photography as a way of earning money during the Great Depression in America when jobs were scarce. Gutmann was fascinated with the new way of seeing the world that photography provided. He thought of the camera as a human eye, which inspired him to photograph whatever he saw, however he saw it. When he looked up in wonder at a multistory parking garage (see Elevator Garage. Chicago, 1936), his camera looked up too. John Gutmann Elevator Garage. Garage. 1936 Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona © John Gutmann He described the American city as "foreign—a landscape in which buildings had replaced mountains, automobiles had replaced trees, and neon and painted signs had been substituted for flowers." His pictures showed startling new views of familiar scenes. American photographs were not always as daring and experimental with how they took photographs at that time, so his work was though of as bold and modern. Gutmann currently resides in northern California. READING THE PHOTOGRAPH John Gutmann Portrait of Count Basie. San Francisco, 1939 Gelatin silver print Courtesy the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco © John Gutmann Photographing primarily in the street, Gutmann used his eye and his camera to capture the exuberance and rhythm of America. He found Americans exotic and optimistic despite the Depression and looming war. His interest in photographing things uniquely American inspired Portrait of Count Basie. San Francisco in 1939. Jazz was an American form of music popular for its modern sound. In this work, Gutmann has captured the flare and style of a jazz performance by the High Hatters, with Count Basie in the background. This scene was photographed during the World’s Fair in San Francisco. Gutmann photographed his subject from a worm’s-eye view. Notice, also, how the framing of the image cuts or crops part of the singers from the view. At the time, this approach to angle and framing was not widely used by American photographers, but was a part of the new way of photographing that was being developed in Europe and making its way to America. Such use was considered odd and daring. Questions to consider: * Where do you think Gutmann was standing when he took this photograph? * What effect does the worm’s-eye view have? * What was left out of the picture frame? * What do you notice first when you look at this photograph? Why do you think you noticed this first? * What kinds of sounds would this scene produce? * What adjectives would you use to describe this photograph? Otto Hagel and Hansel Mieth Otto Hagel and Hansel Mieth were both born in Germany in 1909. They were fifteen when they met in their homeland and began their lifelong involvement with writing and photography. Both possessed a curiosity about the world and its people, and together they left Germany to wander and work their way throughout Europe. Worried about the economic problems of Europe and the rise of fascism in Germany, Hagel immigrated to the United States in 1928. Having no money, he had to pay for his passage by working on a freighter. Mieth followed him to San Francisco in 1930. They eventually married. Together, they worked as laborers and migrant farm workers, turning to photography and filmmaking whenever they could. Hagel and Mieth were confronted with the harsh reality of the Depression in America in the 1930s. Their first home in California was a tent. Mieth eventually began to photograph for Time magazine, and both she and Hagel contributed a number of photographs and photographic essays to Life magazine. Many times they collaborated on a photograph. Both artists were interested in brining about a better understanding of real life through their photographs. Their own difficult, working class backgrounds made them sympathetic to the poor, the unemployed, and the labor unions. Hagel died in 1974. Mieth currently lives in northern California. READING THE PHOTOGRAPHS Hansel Mieth Outstretched Hands, 1934 Gelatin silver print ©1998 Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation Mieth and Hagel often photographed people who were struggling to make a living. In this image, Hansel Mieth shows men vying for jobs at the San Francisco Waterfront in 1934. To guide your students in a discussion, ask questions like: * For what do you think these men are reaching? * What adjectives would you use to describe how it makes you feel to know that these men were unemployed and that they were reaching for job notices? * What sounds would you expect to hear coming from this scene? * What adjectives would you use to describe the overall feeling or mood of the photograph? * How does the framing add to this feeling? * How does the angle add to this feeling? * Have you ever felt desperate about anything in your life? How would you describe that feeling? * Do you think that this image communicates the desperation of these men to find jobs? Otto Hagel The Window Washer, 1939 Gelatin silver print ©1998 Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation Otto Hagel once worked as a window washer in New York City. When asked why he was employed as such, he replied, "Well, with the economy going bad, I want to be able to see what the giants of industry are doing by looking into their windows!" From this response we know that he had quite a sense of humor. Hagel’s The Window Washer is actually a self-portrait. Hagel set up the photograph from inside the room in order to record himself washing a window of a tall building, high above the streets of New York City. This is a complicated picture that can be discussed formally for the way it looks and for what it communicates. Questions to consider: * Where was the camera located when this photograph was taken? * What do you notice first in this work? Why do you think you noticed it first? * From what direction is the light coming? How can you tell? * What adjectives would you use to describe the light? * Are the shapes in this photograph primarily geometric or organic? * Are there strong contrasts in this photograph? * Does this photograph have enough variety to hold your interest? * What adjectives would you use to describe the feeling or mood of this work? Lisette Model Lisette Model was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Vienna, Austria, in 1901. Music was her passion and she studied voice and piano. With Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, the safety of Jewish people was in question, even in Austria. Model moved with her family to France in 1926. There, she took up photography so that she would have a practical skill on which to rely. Photography became both her medium of artistic expression and her main source of livelihood. In 1938, Model immigrated to New York City with her husband, who was a painter. She fell in love with the city’s noisy, narrow streets, tall buildings, fast pace, and energy. Throughout the next ten years she mainly photographed subjects she found on the city streets. Her powerful, though nonconventional, images of New York were frequently seen in Harper’s Bazaar. It was through her role as a teacher, however, that Model had the greatest impact on young photographers. For the thirty years before her death in 1983, she taught her students to open their eyes and respond to their subjects with their hearts. READING THE PHOTOGRAPH Lisette Model Window Reflections, Fifth Avenue, New York City. 1940 Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona This image is from Model’s series of photographs of store windows. Photographing this subject matter allowed her to include information from both sides of the street all at once, as the reflections showed activity both inside and outside of the windows. By aiming her camera directly at a window, she captured the feel of the city in a jumble of reflections and shadows. Framing the view of a photograph in this way was daring and is an example of the experimental approach to art that European photographers brought to this country. Questions to consider: * How do you know that this is a photograph of a city scene? * Where was the artist when she took this picture? How can you tell? * What do you notice first in this photograph? Why do you think you noticed it first? * What is creating the shadow figures? * Do you actually see any people in this photograph? * What adjectives would you use to describe the light? * Are there strong contrasts of light and dark? * What kinds of sounds would you hear if you were in this scene? Marion Palfi "I came to the United States in 1940 at a very tragic time in human history and (it might sound corny) there was this man Roosevelt President, and he talked to the people on the radio and told about the Four Freedoms and the better world of tomorrow. One day, I told myself, perhaps I can help with my camera . . ." recalled Marion Palfi. Born in Berlin of Hungarian and German parents in 1907, Palfi followed her father’s career into German theater and films. By 1932, her attention had turned to photography. After fleeing Hitler’s army, first in Germany and then in Holland, she settled in New York City. As she traveled through various American cities, she was troubled by the racial intolerance she witnessed there and by the growing problems in urban centers. Using her camera as a tool to record her concerns, Palfi brought a European perspective to social issues in the United States, especially those involving poverty, racism, and injustice. She was disturbed by the unwillingness or inability of American society to recognize and change them. Palfi began to describe herself as a "social research photographer." She belonged to a generation of artists who believed that art could and should effect social change. By combining her art form with the study of society, Palfi explored and recorded groups that remained invisible in America: the poor, the oppressed, and the victims of discrimination. For the next thirty years she traveled across the country photographing these groups. This intensive work resulted in the production of several large photographic essays, passionate in their description of the disturbing things she witnessed. Palfi died in 1978. READING THE PHOTOGRAPHS Marion Palfi Somewhere in the South, 1946-49 Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona © Martin Magner This photograph shows us a scene from a bus in the late 1940s. A black couple with a baby sit, staring straight ahead, underneath the statement:THIS PART OF THE BUS FOR THE COLORED RACE." It would be almost ten years before the laws requiring blacks to sit in the back of the bus, while whites sat in the front, would be changed. Questions to consider: * How would you describe the looks on the faces of the bus riders? Discuss. * What was left out of the picture frame? * Why do you think Palfi chose to photograph her subjects so closely? * What adjectives would you use to describe how this image makes you feel? * Do you think that photographs can communicate strong feelings? How? * Do you think that photographs can be used to promote social change? How? Marion Palfi Los Angeles, Anti Klan Meeting Where Klan Did Strike, 1946-49 from Signs of Discrimination Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona © Martin Magner Here, we see a group of people, black and white, that are attending a meeting organized to fight against the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Once, while photographing the KKK and its activities, Palfi had to smuggle her negatives out of the South because her life was threatened. Questions to consider: * What is the first thing you notice in this photograph? Why do you think you noticed it first? * What adjectives would you use to describe the light? * How does the light contribute to the mood of the work? ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS * What adjectives would you use to describe how you would feel if you were made to sit in the back of a bus because of the color of your skin? * How do you feel about the fact that, even though the U.S. Constitution declared that no person could be discriminated against because of his or her race, the South had laws that required blacks to sit apart from whites. * What is the Ku Klux Klan? * Is the KKK still active today? * Why would white people join with blacks to fight the KKK? Edward Steichen: The Family of Man The Family of Man is an exhibition of photos mounted by Edward J. Steichen in 1955 for the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). While offering infinitely diverse images of human beings living in the 1950s, it nevertheless emphatically reminds visitors that they all belong to the same big family. The 32 themes, arranged chronologically, reflect the subjects’ joys and sadnesses, their satisfactions and their unhappinesses, and their longing for peace, but also the reality of bloody conflict. They emphasize the role of democratic structures and, in the exhibition’s conclusion, the United Nations’ role as the only body capable of saving the world from the “scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and [of reaffirming] faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small” (Charter of the United Nations). Regarded as the “greatest photographic enterprise ever undertaken”, it consists of 503 photographs taken by 273 photographers, both professional and amateur, famous and unknown, from 68 countries. A huge undertaking, with unique cultural and artistic dimensions, it had a considerable influence on other exhibition organizers, stirred public interest in photography and its tremendous ability to communicate, and conveyed a personal, humanist message that was both courageous and provocative. The photographers who took part included Dorothea Lange, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jack Delano, Margaret Bourke-White, Esther Bubley, Bert Hardy, Edward Weston, Matthew Brady, Frank Scherschel, Wayne Miller, Eva Arnold, Irving Penn, Consuelo Kanaga, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Bill Brandt, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Ben Shahn and Marion Palfi. Although the Family of Man has become a legend in the history of photography, it went far beyond the traditional view of what an exhibition should be. It may be regarded as the memory of an entire era, that of the Cold War and McCarthyism, in which the hopes and aspirations of millions of men and women throughout the world were focused on peace. Steichen’s undertaking is still unique of its kind. Several photographic exhibitions were more or less clearly inspired by it, for example The Family of Children and The Family of Women by Jerry Mason, and the First World Photography Exhibition organized by Karl Pawek in the 1960s for Stern magazine, but none of them matched the visual dimension or the artistic coherence of the original American exhibition. The very personal approach of Steichen arouses interest and exercises minds to this day: There was a new surge of interest in the exhibition following the opening of the Clervaux museum. Since June 1994 the museum has attracted over 163,000 visitors from all over the world, not counting the 50,000 who went to see the restored collection in Toulouse, Tokyo and Hiroshima in 1992 and in the winter of 1993-1994, 38 years after the first tour. This was the final “round-the-world” trip by the exhibition before it was permanently installed in the museum. Visit the Virtual Tour of The Family of Man Exhibition (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Copyright © Ron Herman, 2007 Lecture 9: Reframing America Required Reading The readings for this module are pdf articles available for download. "Reframing America" by Terence Pitts "The Family of Man A Reappraisal of 'The Greatest Exhibition of All Time'" by Bill Jay Lecture This module explores both, the aspects of immigration revealed through photographs taken by immigrant artists from an exhibition titled "Reframing America: Through the Eyes of Seven Immigrant Photographers", and the commonality of mankind as portrayed in the seminal photography exhibit The Family of Man . "Reframing America: Through the Eyes of Seven Immigrant Photographers" "Reframing America: Through the Eyes of Seven Immigrant Photographers" was originally one exhibition in a three-part exhibition series titled "Points of Entry," that was organized collaboratively, though curated individually, by the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, CA; the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, AZ; and The Friends of Photography/Ansel Adams Center for Photography in San Francisco, CA. Alexander Alland, Robert Frank, John Gutmann, Otto Hagel, Hansel Mieth, Lisette Model, and Marion Palfi, are seven photographers who came to America during the period between 1920–1950. Millions of people left their homelands during that time to seek a better life in America. Often fleeing war, revolution, and persecution, they came in search of freedom, as well as economic and artistic opportunity. The photographers in this exhibition were among these immigrants. Their work speaks of life in America and of their feelings and experiences as immigrants in a new land. Like the farmers, laborers, teachers, and musicians who came to America as immigrants, these artists had ideas and dreams about what their new country would be like. Partly because they looked at America with fresh eyes, and partly because the America they found did not always correspond to the America they expected, their photographs sometimes addressed issues that continue to haunt this country: poverty, injustice, and intolerance. At the same time, they recorded uniquely American themes such as the mass consumption of consumer goods, jazz, and our nation’s love of the automobile. These artists also brought European equipment, ideas, and training with them, which was to have a tremendous influence on American photography. The result was a startling new vision of America. Alexander Alland Alexander Alland was born in Russia in 1902. He became interested in photography as a boy and made his own camera out of cardboard when he was twelve. In 1923, fleeing civil war in his homeland and then again in Turkey, he came to the United States on a steerage boat. He was just twentyone years old. On his second evening in America, he stood in Times Square in New York City, completely fascinated by the people, the cars, the city lights, and all things American. For Alland, being an American meant sharing "the desire for happiness, prosperity, and liberty," no matter what one’s racial or national background might be. In his photography, he respected and celebrated things that made people different. At the same time, he sought to capture themes that unified people of many backgrounds. His own experience gave him insight into the conflict that immigrants still face between their desire to keep and remember the languages and traditions of their old country and the need to learn the skills necessary to succeed in their new country. Alland died in 1989. Alexander Alland Untitled, 1948 Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona © Estate of Alexandra Alland Alland’s photograph of a newspaper stand shows us evidence of a multicultural society, one where many languages are spoken. A non-English speaking immigrant would have needed to find work and a place to live and would surely have welcomed a newspaper written in his or her native language. Alland photographed this scene from eye level rather than from above or below. This angle makes the view like our own, as it would be if we were walking up to the newspaper stand. Questions to consider: * What is the first thing you notice in this photograph? * Why do you think Alexander Alland made the rack of newspapers his subject? * How many different languages can you count in this photograph? * What adjectives would you use to describe how you would feel in a new country where you did not understand the language? * What are some of the things you would be concerned about? Alexander Alland Photomontage, c. 1943 Gelatin silver print Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York © Estate of Alexandra Alland In the 1940s, Alland experimented with different ways to display photographs. He produced large photomurals (billboard-size photographs) for the public library in Newark, New Jersey. He also collaged many photographs into one image. A good example of the latter is his Photomontage, which depicts well-dressed American children from many racial backgrounds. Their images overlap a large map that shows where various ethnic communities have developed in the United States. Their teacher is pointing out locations on the map. Note: the teacher is the photographer’s wife, Alexandra, and the pupil on her right is their son, Alexander Alland, Jr. Questions to consider: * What do the words "America—A Nation of People from Many Countries" in the photograph mean to you? * How can you tell that this is a made-up scene rather than a real scene? * What is the first thing you notice in this work? Why do you think you noticed it first? * What adjectives would you use to describe how the children look and feel? * Do you think this is a realistic interpretation of life in America for these children at that time? Why or why not? * How can you tell that this photographic collage was not created very recently? Robert Frank Born into a Jewish family in Zurich in 1924, Robert Frank was fifteen when war broke out across Europe. While his family was unharmed in Switzerland, he later said that "being Jewish and living with the threat of Hitler must have been a very big part of my understanding of people that were put down or who were held back." Near the end of the war, Frank took up photography as a way of breaking away from the restrictions of his wealthy family and of Switzerland. In 1947 he moved to New York City for a year. Subsequently, he began traveling the world and taking photographs for magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, McCall’s, and the New York Times. Frank’s first impression of America was one of delight. He stated that "when I got to America I saw right away that everything was open, that you could do anything. And how you were accepted just depended on what you did with it." This optimistic opinion of America would change. Over the next seven years, he became disillusioned with the controls the magazines had over his work. In addition, as he experienced the fast pace of life in America and observed the importance Americans placed on money, he saw a country of great wealth, but little joy. After winning a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship in 1955, Frank, his wife Mary, and their two children set off in their car on a series of cross-country trips. Frank’s intent was to document a culture that was uniquely American. The result was the now-famous book of Frank’s photographs called The Americans, which was first published in 1958. Frank’s style of photography and the images he made for The Americans were not widely accepted at first, perhaps because the America that Frank photographed wasn’t the America that those born and raised here saw or wanted to see. Americans viewed his photographs as a harsh criticism of his adopted country. His intention, however, was not to censure America, but to capture the complex American experience. Other artists were among the first to recognize that Frank’s style expressed, in a very personal way, his feelings about this country. What better way to record a distressed society than with odd views, glaring light, and different degrees of focus? Perfection did not have a place in Frank’s troubled and complex vision of America. His approach to photography was not what Americans were used to seeing in pictures. This kind of experimentation broke existing rules in photography and resulted in images that seemed, to some, to lack craft and refinement. The Americans went on to become a major influence for artists during the 1960s because they also identified with Frank’s modern approach to interpreting the world in which they lived. Today, Frank divides his time between New York and Nova Scotia. Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) Charleston, South Carolina 1955-56 Questions to consider: * Where was the artist when he took this photograph? * What was left out of the frame? * What adjectives would you use to describe the feel of this close view? * What adjectives would you use to describe the light in this photograph? * What parts of this image are in sharp focus? What parts are out of focus? * Does having some parts in focus and some parts out of focus add to the mood? How? * What do you notice first? Discuss. * Do you find that this is a confusing photograph? Why or why not? * Do you think that sometimes the world is a confusing place? Explain. Robert Frank: The Americans Robert Frank established a new iconography for contemporary America, comprised of bits of bus depots, lunch counters, strip developments, empty spaces, cars, and unknowable faces. This iconography has b ecome a common coin, [and] here the original acuity of Frank's own sensibility is alive and relevant." -- John Szarkowski, Museum of Modern Art Robert Frank's book The Americans represented a significant challenge to America's image of itself. Frank's pictures broke all the rules of photography. Photography before Frank was pristine: carefully focused, carefully lit. Frank would intentionally lose focus, his work was shadowy a nd grainy, full of unconventional cropping and angles. He broke the rules in order to be true to his vision of America he saw in his travels across the country in 1955 and 1956. Most photojournalism made around the time Frank was photographing The Americans was optimistic and upbeat, reflecting the attitude of a prosperous post-war America. Such attitudes can be seen in the popular 1955 exhibition: The Family of Man. Frank's work clashed with the prevailing trend in photography. In 1958 he wrote: "...I do not anticipate that the onlooker will share my viewpoint. However, I feel that if my photograph leaves an image on his mind - something has been accomplished." When the Americans was first published abroad and in the U. S., it was sharply criticized. But the popularization of the beat movement - the second edition of The Americans featured an introduction by Jack Kerouac - helped Frank to reach a broader and more accepting audience. Frank's once avant-garde style on the 1950's is now taken for granted. We see it daily in print advertisements for jeans or in music videos on MTV. But Frank's original photographs are still extraordinary and surprisingly contemporary. This exhibition at the Juanita Kreps Gallery courtesy of the Addison Gallery of Art - is a rare opportunity to see the vintage photographs that radically changed photography and our relationship to it. -Elizabeth Kunreuther, Curator for the Center for Documentary Studies That crazy feeling in America when the sun is hot on the streets and music comes out of the jukebox or from a nearby funeral, that's what Robert Frank has captured in the tremendous photographs taken as he traveled on the road around practically forty-eight states in an old used car (on Guggenhiem Fellowship) and with the agility, mystery, genius, sadness, and strange secrecy of a shadow photographed scenes that have never been seen before on film. - Jack Kerouac, from his introduction to The Americans. In 1955, the Swiss photographer Robert Frank traveled throughout the United States by car and returned with a bleak portrait of what the American road had to offer. As Kerouac writes in his introduction, Frank's photographs had "sucked a sad, sweet, poem out of America," a sadness found in the forlorn looks of dime store waitresses, funeral attendees, and human faces rendered unrecognizable in the glare of jukeboxes. The slightly offset angles and the blurred focus of many of the photographs suggest the n ervousness and dislocation of the people they capture. Frank dispels any romantic notions of the lingering pioneer spirit of America by presenting a landscape of people and places absent of hope and promise. Though Swiss by birth, Frank traveled the world before settling in the United States in 1953. He eventually befriended the Beat poets (Jack Kerouac wrote the introduction to the book The Americans) and became one of the key visual artists to document this bohemian subculture in both photography and film, including the highly influential cinematic work Pull My Daisy. Like the Beats, Frank sought to reveal the profound tensions he saw in all strata of American society during the outwardly optimistic 1950s. His photographic journey encompasses rich and poor, black and white, north and south, offering a glimpse of what makes these people and places truly American. In 1955, Robert Frank set out to observe and photograph the United States. Supported by a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation, he traveled across the country for two years. The result was The Americans, a visionary work and a milestone in the history of photography. Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) City Fathers (Hoboken) 1955 Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) Parade - Hoboken, New Jersey Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) Trolley--New Orleans, 1955-56 Robert Frank (Swiss born American 1924- ) Political Rally, Chicago 1956 John Gutmann Born in German in 1905, John Gutmann trained and exhibited as a painter. Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933, he immigrated to the United States. Before leaving Germany, he bought a camera and arranged to sell photographs of America to be used in German magazines. He turned to photography as a way of earning money during the Great Depression in America when jobs were scarce. Gutmann was fascinated with the new way of seeing the world that photography provided. He thought of the camera as a human eye, which inspired him to photograph whatever he saw, however he saw it. When he looked up in wonder at a multistory parking garage (see Elevator Garage. Chicago, 1936), his camera looked up too. John Gutmann Elevator Garage. Garage. 1936 Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona © John Gutmann He described the American city as "foreign—a landscape in which buildings had replaced mountains, automobiles had replaced trees, and neon and painted signs had been substituted for flowers." His pictures showed startling new views of familiar scenes. American photographs were not always as daring and experimental with how they took photographs at that time, so his work was though of as bold and modern. Gutmann currently resides in northern California. READING THE PHOTOGRAPH John Gutmann Portrait of Count Basie. San Francisco, 1939 Gelatin silver print Courtesy the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco © John Gutmann Photographing primarily in the street, Gutmann used his eye and his camera to capture the exuberance and rhythm of America. He found Americans exotic and optimistic despite the Depression and looming war. His interest in photographing things uniquely American inspired Portrait of Count Basie. San Francisco in 1939. Jazz was an American form of music popular for its modern sound. In this work, Gutmann has captured the flare and style of a jazz performance by the High Hatters, with Count Basie in the background. This scene was photographed during the World’s Fair in San Francisco. Gutmann photographed his subject from a worm’s-eye view. Notice, also, how the framing of the image cuts or crops part of the singers from the view. At the time, this approach to angle and framing was not widely used by American photographers, but was a part of the new way of photographing that was being developed in Europe and making its way to America. Such use was considered odd and daring. Questions to consider: * Where do you think Gutmann was standing when he took this photograph? * What effect does the worm’s-eye view have? * What was left out of the picture frame? * What do you notice first when you look at this photograph? Why do you think you noticed this first? * What kinds of sounds would this scene produce? * What adjectives would you use to describe this photograph? Otto Hagel and Hansel Mieth Otto Hagel and Hansel Mieth were both born in Germany in 1909. They were fifteen when they met in their homeland and began their lifelong involvement with writing and photography. Both possessed a curiosity about the world and its people, and together they left Germany to wander and work their way throughout Europe. Worried about the economic problems of Europe and the rise of fascism in Germany, Hagel immigrated to the United States in 1928. Having no money, he had to pay for his passage by working on a freighter. Mieth followed him to San Francisco in 1930. They eventually married. Together, they worked as laborers and migrant farm workers, turning to photography and filmmaking whenever they could. Hagel and Mieth were confronted with the harsh reality of the Depression in America in the 1930s. Their first home in California was a tent. Mieth eventually began to photograph for Time magazine, and both she and Hagel contributed a number of photographs and photographic essays to Life magazine. Many times they collaborated on a photograph. Both artists were interested in brining about a better understanding of real life through their photographs. Their own difficult, working class backgrounds made them sympathetic to the poor, the unemployed, and the labor unions. Hagel died in 1974. Mieth currently lives in northern California. READING THE PHOTOGRAPHS Hansel Mieth Outstretched Hands, 1934 Gelatin silver print ©1998 Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation Mieth and Hagel often photographed people who were struggling to make a living. In this image, Hansel Mieth shows men vying for jobs at the San Francisco Waterfront in 1934. To guide your students in a discussion, ask questions like: * For what do you think these men are reaching? * What adjectives would you use to describe how it makes you feel to know that these men were unemployed and that they were reaching for job notices? * What sounds would you expect to hear coming from this scene? * What adjectives would you use to describe the overall feeling or mood of the photograph? * How does the framing add to this feeling? * How does the angle add to this feeling? * Have you ever felt desperate about anything in your life? How would you describe that feeling? * Do you think that this image communicates the desperation of these men to find jobs? Otto Hagel The Window Washer, 1939 Gelatin silver print ©1998 Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation Otto Hagel once worked as a window washer in New York City. When asked why he was employed as such, he replied, "Well, with the economy going bad, I want to be able to see what the giants of industry are doing by looking into their windows!" From this response we know that he had quite a sense of humor. Hagel’s The Window Washer is actually a self-portrait. Hagel set up the photograph from inside the room in order to record himself washing a window of a tall building, high above the streets of New York City. This is a complicated picture that can be discussed formally for the way it looks and for what it communicates. Questions to consider: * Where was the camera located when this photograph was taken? * What do you notice first in this work? Why do you think you noticed it first? * From what direction is the light coming? How can you tell? * What adjectives would you use to describe the light? * Are the shapes in this photograph primarily geometric or organic? * Are there strong contrasts in this photograph? * Does this photograph have enough variety to hold your interest? * What adjectives would you use to describe the feeling or mood of this work? Lisette Model Lisette Model was born into a wealthy Jewish family in Vienna, Austria, in 1901. Music was her passion and she studied voice and piano. With Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, the safety of Jewish people was in question, even in Austria. Model moved with her family to France in 1926. There, she took up photography so that she would have a practical skill on which to rely. Photography became both her medium of artistic expression and her main source of livelihood. In 1938, Model immigrated to New York City with her husband, who was a painter. She fell in love with the city’s noisy, narrow streets, tall buildings, fast pace, and energy. Throughout the next ten years she mainly photographed subjects she found on the city streets. Her powerful, though nonconventional, images of New York were frequently seen in Harper’s Bazaar. It was through her role as a teacher, however, that Model had the greatest impact on young photographers. For the thirty years before her death in 1983, she taught her students to open their eyes and respond to their subjects with their hearts. READING THE PHOTOGRAPH Lisette Model Window Reflections, Fifth Avenue, New York City. 1940 Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona This image is from Model’s series of photographs of store windows. Photographing this subject matter allowed her to include information from both sides of the street all at once, as the reflections showed activity both inside and outside of the windows. By aiming her camera directly at a window, she captured the feel of the city in a jumble of reflections and shadows. Framing the view of a photograph in this way was daring and is an example of the experimental approach to art that European photographers brought to this country. Questions to consider: * How do you know that this is a photograph of a city scene? * Where was the artist when she took this picture? How can you tell? * What do you notice first in this photograph? Why do you think you noticed it first? * What is creating the shadow figures? * Do you actually see any people in this photograph? * What adjectives would you use to describe the light? * Are there strong contrasts of light and dark? * What kinds of sounds would you hear if you were in this scene? Marion Palfi "I came to the United States in 1940 at a very tragic time in human history and (it might sound corny) there was this man Roosevelt President, and he talked to the people on the radio and told about the Four Freedoms and the better world of tomorrow. One day, I told myself, perhaps I can help with my camera . . ." recalled Marion Palfi. Born in Berlin of Hungarian and German parents in 1907, Palfi followed her father’s career into German theater and films. By 1932, her attention had turned to photography. After fleeing Hitler’s army, first in Germany and then in Holland, she settled in New York City. As she traveled through various American cities, she was troubled by the racial intolerance she witnessed there and by the growing problems in urban centers. Using her camera as a tool to record her concerns, Palfi brought a European perspective to social issues in the United States, especially those involving poverty, racism, and injustice. She was disturbed by the unwillingness or inability of American society to recognize and change them. Palfi began to describe herself as a "social research photographer." She belonged to a generation of artists who believed that art could and should effect social change. By combining her art form with the study of society, Palfi explored and recorded groups that remained invisible in America: the poor, the oppressed, and the victims of discrimination. For the next thirty years she traveled across the country photographing these groups. This intensive work resulted in the production of several large photographic essays, passionate in their description of the disturbing things she witnessed. Palfi died in 1978. READING THE PHOTOGRAPHS Marion Palfi Somewhere in the South, 1946-49 Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona © Martin Magner This photograph shows us a scene from a bus in the late 1940s. A black couple with a baby sit, staring straight ahead, underneath the statement:THIS PART OF THE BUS FOR THE COLORED RACE." It would be almost ten years before the laws requiring blacks to sit in the back of the bus, while whites sat in the front, would be changed. Questions to consider: * How would you describe the looks on the faces of the bus riders? Discuss. * What was left out of the picture frame? * Why do you think Palfi chose to photograph her subjects so closely? * What adjectives would you use to describe how this image makes you feel? * Do you think that photographs can communicate strong feelings? How? * Do you think that photographs can be used to promote social change? How? Marion Palfi Los Angeles, Anti Klan Meeting Where Klan Did Strike, 1946-49 from Signs of Discrimination Gelatin silver print Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona © Martin Magner Here, we see a group of people, black and white, that are attending a meeting organized to fight against the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Once, while photographing the KKK and its activities, Palfi had to smuggle her negatives out of the South because her life was threatened. Questions to consider: * What is the first thing you notice in this photograph? Why do you think you noticed it first? * What adjectives would you use to describe the light? * How does the light contribute to the mood of the work? ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS * What adjectives would you use to describe how you would feel if you were made to sit in the back of a bus because of the color of your skin? * How do you feel about the fact that, even though the U.S. Constitution declared that no person could be discriminated against because of his or her race, the South had laws that required blacks to sit apart from whites. * What is the Ku Klux Klan? * Is the KKK still active today? * Why would white people join with blacks to fight the KKK? Edward Steichen: The Family of Man The Family of Man is an exhibition of photos mounted by Edward J. Steichen in 1955 for the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). While offering infinitely diverse images of human beings living in the 1950s, it nevertheless emphatically reminds visitors that they all belong to the same big family. The 32 themes, arranged chronologically, reflect the subjects’ joys and sadnesses, their satisfactions and their unhappinesses, and their longing for peace, but also the reality of bloody conflict. They emphasize the role of democratic structures and, in the exhibition’s conclusion, the United Nations’ role as the only body capable of saving the world from the “scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and [of reaffirming] faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small” (Charter of the United Nations). Regarded as the “greatest photographic enterprise ever undertaken”, it consists of 503 photographs taken by 273 photographers, both professional and amateur, famous and unknown, from 68 countries. A huge undertaking, with unique cultural and artistic dimensions, it had a considerable influence on other exhibition organizers, stirred public interest in photography and its tremendous ability to communicate, and conveyed a personal, humanist message that was both courageous and provocative. The photographers who took part included Dorothea Lange, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jack Delano, Margaret Bourke-White, Esther Bubley, Bert Hardy, Edward Weston, Matthew Brady, Frank Scherschel, Wayne Miller, Eva Arnold, Irving Penn, Consuelo Kanaga, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Bill Brandt, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Ben Shahn and Marion Palfi. Although the Family of Man has become a legend in the history of photography, it went far beyond the traditional view of what an exhibition should be. It may be regarded as the memory of an entire era, that of the Cold War and McCarthyism, in which the hopes and aspirations of millions of men and women throughout the world were focused on peace. Steichen’s undertaking is still unique of its kind. Several photographic exhibitions were more or less clearly inspired by it, for example The Family of Children and The Family of Women by Jerry Mason, and the First World Photography Exhibition organized by Karl Pawek in the 1960s for Stern magazine, but none of them matched the visual dimension or the artistic coherence of the original American exhibition. The very personal approach of Steichen arouses interest and exercises minds to this day: There was a new surge of interest in the exhibition following the opening of the Clervaux museum. Since June 1994 the museum has attracted over 163,000 visitors from all over the world, not counting the 50,000 who went to see the restored collection in Toulouse, Tokyo and Hiroshima in 1992 and in the winter of 1993-1994, 38 years after the first tour. This was the final “round-the-world” trip by the exhibition before it was permanently installed in the museum. Visit the Virtual Tour of The Family of Man Exhibition (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Copyright © Ron Herman, 2007
Lecture 10: The Civil Rights Movement Required Reading Raiford, Leigh. "The Consumption of Lynching Images ," pgs. 266-273 in Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self, ed. Fusco, CoCo and Wallis, Brian. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003. Willis, Deborah. “Exposure ,” pgs. 274-281 in Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self, ed. Fusco, CoCo and Wallis, Brian. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003. Lecture •WARNING: This module contains graphic violent content and nudity• Lynching is the practice whereby a mob--usually several dozen or several hundred persons--takes the law into its own hands in order to injure and kill a person accused of some wrongdoing. The alleged offense can range from a serious crime like theft or murder to a mere violation of local customs and sensibilities. The issue of the victim's guilt is usually secondary, since the mob serves as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner. Due process yields to momentary passions and expedient objectives. Vigilantism, or summary justice, has a long history, but the term lynch law originated during the American Revolution with Col. Charles Lynch and his Virginia associates, who responded to unsettled times by making their own rules for confronting Tories and criminal elements. "Lynching" found an easy acceptance as the nation expanded. Raw frontier conditions encouraged swift punishment for real, imagined, or anticipated criminal behavior. Historically, social control has been an essential aspect of mob rule. Opponents of slavery in pre-Civil War America and cattle rustlers, gamblers, horse thieves, and other "desperadoes" in the South and Old West were nineteenth-century targets. From the 1880s onward, however, mob violence increasingly reflected white America's contempt for various racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. African-Americans especially, and sometimes Native Americans, Latinos, Jews, Asian immigrants, and European newcomers, felt the mob's fury. In an era when racist theories prompted "true Americans" to assert their imagined superiority through imperialist ventures, mob violence became the domestic means of asserting white dominance. Occasionally, this complemented the profit motive, when the lynching of a successful black farmer or immigrant merchant opened new economic opportunities for local whites and simultaneously reaffirmed everyone's "place" in the social hierarchy. Sometimes lynching was aimed at unpopular ideas: labor union organizers, political radicals, critics of America's role in World War I, and civil rights advocates were targets. African-Americans suffered grievously under lynch law. With the close of Reconstruction in the late 1870s, southern whites were determined to end northern and black participation in the region's affairs, and northerners exhibited a growing indifference toward the civil rights of black Americans. Taking its cue from this intersectional white harmony, the federal government abandoned its oversight of constitutional protections. Southern and border states responded with the Jim Crow laws of the 1890s, and white mobs flourished. With blacks barred from voting, public office, and jury service, officials felt no obligation to respect minority interests or safeguard minority lives. In addition to lynchings of individuals, dozens of race riots--with blacks as victims--scarred the national landscape from Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898 to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921. Between 1882 (when reliable statistics were first collected) and 1968 (when the classic forms of lynching had disappeared), 4,743 persons died of lynching, 3,446 of them black men and women. Mississippi (539 black victims, 42 white) led this grim parade of death, followed by Georgia (492, 39), Texas (352, 141), Louisiana (335, 56), and Alabama (299, 48). From 1882 to 1901, the annual number nationally usually exceeded 100; 1892 had a record 230 deaths (161 black, 69 white). Although lynchings declined somewhat in the twentieth century, there were still 97 in 1908 (89 black, 8 white), 83 in the racially troubled postwar year of 1919 (76, 7, plus some 25 race riots), 30 in 1926 (23, 7), and 28 in 1933 (24, 4). Statistics do not tell the entire story, however. These were recorded lynchings; others were never reported beyond the community involved. Furthermore, mobs used especially sadistic tactics when blacks were the prime targets. By the 1890s lynchers increasingly employed burning, torture, and dismemberment to prolong suffering and excite a "festive atmosphere" among the killers and onlookers. White families brought small children to watch, newspapers sometimes carried advance notices, railroad agents sold excursion tickets to announced lynching sites, and mobs cut off black victims' fingers, toes, ears, or genitalia as souvenirs. Nor was it necessarily the handiwork of a local rabble; not infrequently, the mob was encouraged or led by people prominent in the area's political and business circles. Lynching had become a ritual of interracial social control and recreation rather than simply a punishment for crime. See also: Walter White, Rope and Faggot: A Biography of Judge Lynch (1929); Robert L. Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 1909-1950 (1980). Excerpted from a longer article in The Reader’s Companion to American History. Ed. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Co. The lynching of Lige Daniels. August 3, 1920, Center, Texas. (postcard, front and back) A black teenager wearing a white shirt, ragged pants and no shoes stares blindly at the sky. His head is tilted up towards the tree limb from which he has been hanged. His name was Lige Daniels and he was lynched in Center, Texas on August 3, 1920. On the basis of allegations that he had killed an elderly white woman, about a thousand men battered down a jail door and hauled the youth off to an oak tree. Lige Daniels hangs about six feet in the air. Beneath him are a mass of white men, many looking at the camera and smiling. The camera catches one boy, possibly twelve or thirteen years old, looking up at the lynched sixteen year-old. His smile and glee at the scene are clear. It's probably the best fun he has had all that long, hot summer vacation from school. All of this was recorded for a postcard, complete with a 'Place Stamp Here' print on the reverse side. As the scrawled message records, someone's Aunt Myrtle sent this card off to distant family members for inspection, just to make sure that the local excitement got properly reported. Americans photographed these horrors of tortured, mutilated and burned bodies as an advertisement for white supremacism and popular 'justice'. Souvenir photos and postcards are a lost genre of American photography. The thousands of recorded lynchings throughout the United States generated such profits as penny postcards gave to small-town photographers. Only in the mid-twenties did the Postmaster General ban such postcards from the mails. For years thereafter, though, such photographs were available openly and then under the counter. James Allen, who describes himself as a 'picker', spent years collecting lynching photos from flea market and antiquarian dealers. He began collecting these images and the result of Allen's efforts was an exhibition and book: Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. This volume, composed of the exhibition materials, documents as few other books the virulence of white supremacism and its violences. Often there are two, three, four and five black men hung together. Sometimes the photographed remains are no more than the charcoaled trunk of a human being. For the 1899 lynching of Frank Embree in Fayette, Missouri, the photographer-collaborator in the murder catches the naked Embree in a last living stare at the camera; in a following plate, Embree hangs from a tree. Often the hanging posse poses together with the victim. The 1909 murder of Will James was carried out in front of a crowd of thousands gathered beneath a cosmopolitan street arch with electric lights. His murderers first hung James from the arch, then pumped his body full of bullets, and then had a 'coon barbecue'. Some lynchers charged a nickel a shot to fire a pistol into a dead body. Hearts, ears and sex organs were chopped out for display. The book's graphic and unutterable images move a soul to both despair and wonderment at human monstrosity. It is pornography in a true and most evil sense, yet the despicable images are purest education against racism. When the exhibition based on James Allen’s collection of lynching postcards, Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America opened, and Twin Publishers released its accompanying book, it re-ignited a dim fire under the horrors of lynching in the U.S., and the disparate race, gender, and sexual relations that informed them. The history of lynching and its historical precedents is well known and documented in historical writing. Yet, the Allen collection of lynching photos stands out as distinct because its collection primarily consists of postcards exchanged by living human beings in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. On these postcards, commentary on the backside spoke of general events and amusements curiously detached from the heinous visual image on the front side. Postcards that did acknowledge the front image expressed that the lynched body was an assumed thief, rapist, or simply stated that there had been a “Negro barbecue” or “coon cooking” that evening. As one correspondent jubilantly wrote to his father on the backside of a lynching postcard in 1916: “This is the barbecue we had last night; my picture is to the left with a cross over it, your son Joe.” Joe’s postcard documents the prevalent description of Black bodies as a process of digestive consumption. Through the exchange of these images in the postal mail, recipients of the postcards re-consumed them in the open, free market. Joe’s backside commentary inscribes lynching postcards as commodities for exchange, which documents the demise of another human being. In 1911, distribution of lynching postcards through the postal mail became illegal. Nevertheless, this did not stop their production, demand, or trade. To the contrary, the law facilitated an underground trade market to emerge and flourish, where members of lynch mobs and willing spectators continued to exchange proof of their assumed racial superiority and their unquestionable power over the lives of Black Americans. As James Allen writes, the exchange of lynching postcards in the nineteenth and twentieth century reveal “the lust propelled by the commercial reproduction and distribution of the images,” which worked to “facilitate the endless replay of anguish.” “Even dead,” writes Allen, “the victims were without sanctuary.” Without Sanctuary’s authors attest that while sexual transgression or sexual jealousy was often the underpin of the ideology that justified lynching, the assumed offenses of Black Americans that preceded their lynch-pin death also consisted of acts that broke the unspoken racial code created in the dominant culture’s imagination. As Leon Litwack, a historian of African American history and author of several articles and books on lynching explains: Many of the transgressions by Blacks would have been regarded as relatively trivial if committed by whites and were not grounds anywhere else for capital punishment: using disrespectful, insulting, boastful, threatening, or incendiary language; insubordination, impertinence, or improper demeanor (a sarcastic grin, laughing at the wrong time, a prolonged silence)…being troublesome…and (in the eye’s of whites) trying to act like a white man. The psychological and behavioral framework Litwack adds to the lynching story explains the multiple reasons they occurred throughout history. Yet, in Litwack’s analysis of post mortem lynch sites, he also adds description about the thoughtlessness that took place after Black men and women were illegally disposed of through the lyncher’s tortuous rope. Again, writes Litwack, “What ever their values as laborers, Black people were clearly expendable and replaceable in the Antebellum era.” Expendable they were indeed, and for the lynch mob, news of the lynched body and efforts to captivate the proud acts via photography and to disseminate those images were immediate. For example, in the lynching of Thomas Brooks, a Black man in Tennessee, the lynchers’ haste to trade evidence of their act was a chilling site of what one might consider Bakhtinian carnivalesque: Hundreds of Kodaks clicked all morning at the scene of Thomas Brooks’ lynching. People in automobiles and carriages came from miles around to view the corpse dangling from the end of a rope… Picture card photographers installed a portable printing plant at the bridge and reaped a harvest in selling postcards showing a photograph of a lynched Negro. Women and children were there by the score. At a number of country schools the day’s routine was delayed until boy and girl pupils could get back from viewing the lynched man. Unidentified Man, 1908, Oxford Georgia This image was placed on a postcard for Oxford, Georgia. The placement of the victim, in a train station yard, under a lamp post, ensured that many would take notice of the lynch mob's work. That this image was used to create a postcard displays the evaluative stance of all those involved, and all those who subsequently used the post card. The image is well centered and well lit; much care was put into the presentation of this photograph. 19 year old Elias Clayton, 19 year old Elmer Jackson, and 20 year old Isaac McGhie, 1919, Duluth, Minnesota Again, this image became a postcard. The lynched men were three of six circus workers accused of attacking a white girl. The men were pulled from their jail cells and given a mob "trial." Three of the men were released and three were murdered. Two men are pictured hanging in this photo; one victim lays at their feet. It was later determined that none of men could have been involved in the attack. The men pictured are all wearing business attire, ties, and overcoats, suggesting a white collar lynch mob. The fourth man on the left has the beginnings of a smirk on his face as he prepares to memorialize the event at hand. Several men can be seen leaning in to the photo as to assure their faces are seen. There is no fear of retribution here. For such a posed photograph, the photographer must have been aware that the victims' faces were all turned away from the camera. What is important -- the color of their skin -- is visible. Two unidentified males, 1910, Mississippi This photograph is unique for a number of reasons. The lynch mob is not visible here, suggesting that the photograph was taken the morning after the event. The white collar status of the white man pictured is evident in his dress. As he steadies the bodies for the photograph, however, he hides his face from the camera. While his participation in the photographing itself certainly seems to suggest little remorse, it is possible that he does not wish to be photographed alone with the bodies. The mob itself generated huge energy and prompted defiance of the law. It would be simple for any photographed member of the mob to deny involved in the act itself. Denial would be much less simple for those photographed alone with two dead bodies. The need to steady the bodies and create the ideal photograph displays the value of the photos themselves to many Americans during the early1900s. One man's face is partially turned towards the camera but there is little recognition here. He is one of a pair of victims hanging from a single tree limb. There is no dignity or privacy allowed in lynch mob justice. The photo was later converted to a poster to be used in anti-lynching campaigns. Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, August 7, 1930, Marion, Indiana Also evident in the photograph is a man pointing towards one of the victims. The These men were dragged out of the Grant Country framed photo on the right contains hair from a Courthouse; at least one was dead from the attack before victim as a "souvenir," as well as the written he was hung from a tree in the courthouse square. Both inscription, "Bo pointn to his Niga." As if victims were attacked with bricks, rocks and other there were any need to further suggest the weapons. One man had a crow bar forced through his objectification of the men, one of the crowd chest several times. evidently feels a sense of "ownership" over the victim. The use of the frame, combined Evident in the photograph at left are a number of women with the inscription and the hair, suggest the and middle class men. There is an elderly woman present value of this photograph. Like a photo taken in the middle front of the crowd; an elderly man is along to commemorate a picnic, family gathering, or the right hand border. Those who were aware of the special event, this photograph is carefully photographer seem to be turned to pose for the prepared and presented, assumingly for shot. There is obviously some additional lighting coming general viewing in a household. from the top left hand side of the photo. Frank Embree, July 22, 1899, Fayette, Missouri The preceding three photographs depict the beating and eventual handing of Frank Embree. The three photographs were discovered laced together with purple thread so that they could be unfolded to make a set. The posing of both the perpetrators and the victim in these three photographs is marked. The white man to the left in the photo, grasping the carriage wheel, presents a definitive air of self assurance and poise. In the first photograph, the man to the right of the victim shows an equal amount of poise and determination. No less determined, however, is the set and seemingly defiant face of the victim. It is unlikely that he was unaware of his fate yet his expression denotes a challenge rather than fear. In the final photograph, the bravado of the perpetrators is absent. No one seems to want to be seen with the dead body. The only one who still faces the camera in defiance -- the sole person who perhaps possesses no true guilt -- is the victim. Laura Nelson, May 25, 1911, Okemah, Oklahoma Laura Nelson was hung along side her young son. Scores of onlookers, including women and children, rest on the bridge above her. The lynching of women was rare, but not unheard of. Since lynched victims were often accused of rape, black men were the prime targets of lynch mobs. Women and children would suffer similar fates, however, if they were accused of serious crimes such as murder, they were considered complicit with males in a crime, or the real target of the mob -- a brother, lover, friend, etc., could not be found. A victim never, had little chance to escape a lynch mob, but women in particular emphasize the vulnerability of the lynched victim. Nelson was allowed the dignity of remaining clothed. Her son, visible in a much larger photograph, is shown hanging with his pants around his ankles, ready to drop into the river below. It is possible that there was more shame implicit with hanging a woman and child; their position over the river suggests an easy move from deathbed to grave, from crime to cover-up.. e William Brown, September 28, 1919, Omaha, Nebraska William Brown was accused of molesting a white girl. The mob that mutilated and killed him also hung and almost killed the mayor when he asked the mob to disperse. In order to seize Brown, the mob also lit the courthouse on fire. Four others were killed and fifty were wounded in the riot that surrounded the seizure and murder of Brown. Evident in the photo is the careful placement of the photographer. The surrounding crowd provides the border of the photograph. Men are shown smiling, posing, with their hands on their hips and their faces fully visible. A young boy to the right is seen pushing through the crowd to get a better look. Suits and ties are once again the norm of the crowd and for a single moment, the spastic riots that surrounded this attack are calmed. After all, there is a photo to be taken. View Website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: Without Sanctuary Audio Clip (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: NPR on "Without Sanctuary" Exhibition STRANGE FRUIT Abel Meeropol, a Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from the Bronx, was disturbed by a photograph of a lynching and wrote a poem. He later set it to a brooding melody under the pseudonym Lewis Allan in the late 1930s. Best-known from Billie Holiday's haunting 1939 rendition, the song "Strange Fruit" is a harrowing portrayal of the lynching of a black man in the American South. "Strange Fruit" was first performed at a New York teachers' union meeting and was brought to the attention of the manager of Cafe Society, a popular Greenwich Village nightclub, who introduced Billie Holiday to the writer. Holiday's record label refused to record the song but Holiday persisted and recorded it on a specialty label instead. The song was quickly adopted as the anthem for the anti-lynching movement. The haunting lyrics and melody made it impossible for white Americans and politicians to continue to ignore the Southern campaign of racist terror. (Excerpt from the film “Strange Fruit” http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/strangefruit/film.html_ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Strange Fruit, Billie Holiday Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant south, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burning flesh. Here is fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, Here is a strange and bitter cry. Billie Holiday Sings "Strange Fruit" KEN GONZALES-DAY Ken Gonzales-Day is a contemporary photographer and writer who explores lynching as subject matter in his work. The centerpiece of Ken Gonzales-Day’s exhibition, a large black-and-white photomural of a lynching, depicts a crowd of men in Depression-era suits and hats around a bare tree. But the object of their attention is missing: The artist has digitally removed the victim from the picture. Small, vintage-looking images, grouped together on an adjacent wall, show similar clusters of people around empty trees or poles; among them are several that portray the same crowd—or parts of it—as the photomural. In the postcard-sized Tucson, a group of steely-eyed men form a V at the base of a telegraph pole and stare directly at the viewer, though whether their gaze is conspiratorial or confrontational is hard to gauge.The titles of two large color photographs of trees—Golden Chain, bathed in a late afternoon glow, and At Daylight the Miserable Man Was Carried to an Oak, its subject carpeted by moss— suggest that bodies might have once dangled from their branches. Gonzales-Day’s work centers on lynching in the American West, particularly California, where more Latinos, Indians, Chinese and even whites were murdered than blacks. But by erasing the bodies of the lynched victims, inflating the crowd in the mural with a composite of several photos and giving images titles to which they may not be connected (Tucson, for example, actually depicts the town of Tombstone, Arizona), the artist renders his “evidence” unreliable and challenges conventional ideas about history, photography and representation itself. Instead of shock, sympathy or identification, we feel a vague unease, without emotional or intellectual resolution. — Joseph R. Wolin ( http://www.timeoutny.com/newyork/Details.do?page=1&xyurl=xyl://TONYWe bArticles1/576/art/ken_gonzales_day.xml) In the process of researching a book called ''Lynching in the West: 18501935,'' the Los Angeles artist Ken Gonzales-Day assembled an archive and made a discovery: in the more than 350 California lynchings he found records for, most of the victims were Latinos. His photographic show at Cue Art Foundation is an interpretive response to that. Some of the photographs are his own, taken of still-standing trees where lynchings took place. Most of the other pictures are reproductions of historical images, found in newspapers and on souvenir postcards, of actual lynchings. In each of these pictures, though, the artist has erased the body of the victim, leaving everything else intact. The tree or telegraph post used for the hanging is there; so is the crowd of witnesses and executioners, posing for the camera or staring up at what is now empty space. As the artist Kerry James Marshall demonstrated in paintings using lynching photographs and a comparable mode of selective erasure, the effect is very different from looking at the horrific unaltered pictures, where the victims continue to be exposed and shamed as objects of casual spectatorship, exactly as their killers intended. Mr. Gonzales-Day's work throws the emphasis on the spectators themselves and makes hard lines between then and now, them and us, difficult to draw. HOLLAND COTTER ( http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F00E4DF1E31F931A1575A C0A9609C8B63) Ken Gonzales-Day Erased Lynching (1884) 2004 lightjet print 5.5 x 3.5 in. Ken Gonzales-Day Run Up, 2003 LightJet Printt Ken Gonzales-Day Website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. University of Rhode Island Lynching Exhibit - part 1 of 3 University of Rhode Island Lynching Exhibit - part 1 of 3 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. University of Rhode Island Lynching Exhibit - part 2 of 3 University of Rhode Island Lynching Exhibit - part 2 of 3 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. University of Rhode Island Lynching Exhibit - part 3 of 3 University of Rhode Island Lynching Exhibit - part 3 of 3 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. EMMETT TILL AND THE PHOTOGRAPH THAT SPARKED THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT Emmett and Mamie Till 1954 Emmett Louis "Bobo" Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was an African-American teenager from Chicago, Illinois who was brutally murdered in a region of Mississippi known as the Mississippi Delta in the small town of Money in Leflore County. His murder was one of the key events that energized the nascent American Civil Rights Movement. The main suspects for the crime--both caucasian men--were acquitted, but later admitted to committing the crime. Till's mother had an open casket funeral to let everyone see how her son had been brutally killed. He had been shot and beaten; he was then thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a seventy-five pound cotton gin fan tied to his neck with barbed wire to work as a weight. His body remained in the river for three days until it was discovered and retrieved by two fishermen. After Till's severely damaged body was found, he was put into a pine box and nearly buried, but Mamie Till Bradley wanted the body to come back to Chicago. A Tutwiler mortuary assistant worked all night to prepare the body as best he could so that Mamie Till Bradley could bring Emmett's body back to Chicago. The Chicago funeral home had agreed not to open the casket, but Mamie Bradley fought it, and after the state of Mississippi would not allow the funeral home to open it, Mamie threatened to open it herself, insisting she had a right to see her son. After viewing the body, she also insisted on leaving the casket open for the funeral and allowing people to take photos because she wanted people to see how badly Till's body had been disfigured. News photographs of Till's mutilated corpse circulated around the country, notably appearing in Jet magazine, drawing intense public reaction. Some reports indicate up to 50,000 people viewed the body. 1 in 5 fainted at the sight. This gruesome photo of Emmett Till helped spark the civil rights movement. It demonstrated the brutality of southern violence towards African-Americans, and created outrage across the nation. Emmett's mother, Mamie, insisted at his funeral that he be given an open-casket, so others could see what they had done to her boy. Photograph of Till's Body and His mother's Reaction In 1955, Jet magazine published photographs of the mutilated body of 14-year-old Chicago resident Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in Mississippi. Many civil rights activists say seeing those pictures both haunted and inspired them. NPR's Noah Adams reports on the decision to publish the photos and the wide-ranging effect they had. Margaret Block, a long-time activist in Cleveland, Miss., was a young girl when the pictures were published. "I remember not being able to sleep when I saw [the photos]," she says. "Can you imagine being 11 years old and seeing something like that for the first time in your life and it being close to home? The death of Emmett Till touched us, it touched everybody. And we always said if we ever got a chance to do something, we were going to change things around here." For Charles Cobb, a Washington, D.C., journalist and author, the photos were also a catalyst to activism. Cobb first saw the pictures when he was 12 years old. He went on to develop the "Freedom Schools" that mobilized black voters throughout Mississippi in 1964. NPR: Morning Edition: Emmett Till and the Impact of Images (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Listen to this audio program and hear how Jet magazine’s decision to publish photos of the murdered boy helped spark the Civil Rights Movement. On September 23 the jury, made up of 12 white males, acquitted both defendants. Deliberations took just 67 minutes; one juror said they took a "soda break" to stretch the time to over an hour. The hasty acquittal outraged people throughout the United States and Europe, and energized the nascent Civil Rights Movement. In a January 1956 article in Look Magazine (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. for which they were paid, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant admitted to journalist William Bradford Huie that he and his brother had killed Till. They did not fear being tried again for the same crime because of the Constitutional double jeopardy protection. The Death of Emmett Till, Bob Dylan "Twas down in Mississippi no so long ago, When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door. This boy's dreadful tragedy I can still remember well, The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till. Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up. They said they had a reason, but I can't remember what. They tortured him and did some evil things too evil to repeat. There was screaming sounds inside the barn, there was laughing sounds out on the street. Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screaming pain. The reason that they killed him there, and I'm sure it ain't no lie, Was just for the fun of killin' him and to watch him slowly die. And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial, Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till. But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this awful crime, And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind. I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see The smiling brothers walkin' down the courthouse stairs. For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free, While Emmett's body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea. If you can't speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that's so unjust, Your eyes are filled with dead men's dirt, your mind is filled with dust. Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood it must refuse to flow, For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low! This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan. But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give, We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live. Bob Dylan's "The Death of Emmett Till" With Images of Emmett Till Rosa Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement". On December 1, 1955, Parks became famous for refusing to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. This action of civil disobedience started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which is one of the largest movements against racial segregation. In addition, this launched Martin Luther King, Jr., who was involved with the boycott, to prominence in the civil rights movement. She has had a lasting legacy worldwide. Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus on December 21, 1956, the day Montgomery's public transportation system was legally integrated. Behind Parks is Nicholas C. Chriss, a UPI reporter covering the event. Photographers of the American Civil Rights Movement From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Beginning with the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, photography and photographers played an important role in advancing the American Civil Rights Movement by documenting the public and private acts of racial discrimination against African Americans. This article focuses on these photographers and the role that they played in the movement between 1954 and 1968, particularly in the South. View Website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: Chronology of the Civil Rights Movement View Website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: Voices of Civil Rights Exhibition Notable photographers and the roles they played Ernest Withers (American b. 1922) Ernest Withers holds a unique place in mid-20th-century American photography. Working as a self-employed photographer in the American South, Withers was in a unique position to record the making of history. Withers could be called the original photographer for the Civil Rights Movement. Documenting the Movement from the 1950s through the 1960s Withers produced a book on the Emmett Till murder that became a motivating influence for the push towards equal rights. In the 1950s he photographed players of the Diamond League including such icons as Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays. Based on legendary Beale Street in Memphis, Withers photographed the early performances of such celebrities as Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin. Ernest Withers Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Abernathy on the First Desegregated Bus, Montgomery, Dec. 21, 1956 Gelatin silver print 15 x 18 inches Withers shares his experiences and images of events that altered the course of American history in a memorable Martin Luther King Jr. Day presentation at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Video Clip (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: The Civil Rights Movement On Film: Ernest C. Withers, photojournalist View Website: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Photographs by Civil Rights Photographer Ernest Withers Elizabeth Eckford And the Little Rock Nine Little Rock Nine Hazel Massery (born Hazel Bryan) was a student at Little Rock Central High School during the 1950s. She was depicted in an iconic photograph that showed her shouting at Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, during the integration crisis. In her later life, she would work with Eckford to further the goals of racial harmony. In 1998, Massery told The Guardian, "I am not sure at that age what I thought, but probably I overheard that my father was opposed to integration.... But I don't think I was old enough to have any convictions of my own yet." Later in life she changed her mind; she had thought of Martin Luther King as a "trouble-maker", but realized "deep down in your soul, he was right". She took the initiative of contacting Eckford, leading to an "awkward" first meeting, but then a real friendship. Both women faced angry feelings from friends and relatives in Little Rock, which remains largely physically segregated.[2] She appeared with Eckford and the rest of the Little Rock Nine on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of integration at Central High. The reunion provided an opportunity for acts of reconciliation, as noted in this editorial from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on the first day of 1998: "One of the fascinating stories to come out of the reunion was the apology that Hazel Bryan Massery made to Elizabeth Eckford for a terrible moment caught forever by the camera. That 40-year-old picture of hate assailing grace — which had gnawed at Ms. Massery for decades — can now be wiped clean, and replaced by a snapshot of two friends. The apology came from the real Hazel Bryan Massery, the decent woman who had been hidden all those years by a fleeting image. And the graceful acceptance of that apology was but another act of dignity in the life of Elizabeth Eckford."[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazel_Massery) Hazel Bryan (center, in front of man with hat) shouts at Elizabeth Eckford as she walks to school in 1957. This photograph, taken by Will Counts, is one of the top 100 photographs of the 20th century, according to the Associated Press.[1] It was the fourth school year since segregation had been outlawed by the Supreme Court. Things were not going well, and some southerners accused the national press of distorting matters. This picture, however, gave irrefutable testimony, as Elizabeth Eckford strides through a gantlet of white students, including Hazel Bryant (mouth open the widest), on her way to Little Rock’s Central High. * Dan Budnik, in 1965, Budnik persuaded Life to have him create a long-term photo essay documenting the Selma to Montgomery march. His photographs are now in the collection of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. View Website: Dan Budnik (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. * Bruce Davidson chronicled the events and effects of Civil Rights Movement, in both the North and the South, from 1961 to 1965. In support of his project, Davidson received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962 and his finished project was displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Upon the completion of his documentation of the Civil Rights Movement, Davidson received the first ever photography grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Bruce Davidson, Bruce Davidson, New York, 1964 Bruce Davidson, Youths on the Selma March * Warren K. Leffler was a photographer for U.S. News & World Report during the civil rights years. Although based primarily in Washington, D.C., Leffler also traveled to the South to cover many of the main events for the magazine. * Danny Lyon published his first photographs working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. His pictures appeared in The Movement, a documentary book about the Southern Civil Rights Movement. Danny Lyon (b. 1942) Drinking Fountains in the Dougherty County Courthouse, Albany, Georgia, ca. 1963 * James "Spider" Martin's photographs documented the March 1965 beating of marchers in the Selma to Montgomery march, known as “Bloody Sunday.” About the effect of photography on the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Spider, we could have marched, we could have protested forever, but if it weren't for guys like you, it would have been for nothing. The whole world saw your pictures. That's why the Voting Rights Act was passed." [1] View James "Spider" Martin Gallery HERE (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. * Charles Moore, in 1958 photographed an argument between Martin Luther King, Jr. and two policemen. His photographs were distributed nationally by the Associated Press, and published in Life and he began traveling throughout the South documenting the Civil Rights Movement. Moore's most famous photograph, Birmingham, depicts demonstrators being attacked by firemen wielding high-pressure hoses. U.S. Senator Jacob Javits said that Moore's pictures "helped to spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."[2] Charles Moore (American b. 1931) Many historians have credited Charles Moore's photography of the civil rights movement with shifting the national mood in favor of equality for all Americans. Some of his most famous images include the Freedom Marchers, Birmingham demonstrators and police, and Martin Luther King Jr. His civil rights photos were originally published in Life magazine, now he works as a freelance photographer based in Florence, Ala. View Website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.: Powerful Days in Black and White: Photographs of Charles Moore Birmingham 1963 For years, Birmingham, Ala., was considered “the South’s toughest city,” home to a large black population and a dominant class of whites that met in frequent, open hostility. Birmingham in 1963 had become the cause célèbre of the black civil rights movement as nonviolent demonstrators led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. repeatedly faced jail, dogs and high-velocity hoses in their tireless quest to topple segregation. This picture of people being pummeled by a liquid battering ram rallied support for the plight of the blacks. * Gordon Parks was assigned by Life in 1963 to travel with Malcolm X and document the civil rights movement.[3] He was also involved with the movement on a personal level. Gordon Parks (American 1912-2006) Parks once said, “I chose my camera as a weapon against all the things I dislike about America—poverty, racism and discrimination.” “I had known poverty firsthand. I learned how to fight its evil—along with the evil of racism—with a camera.” Gordon Parks has been called a "poet of the camera." His interest in photography began in the early 1930s when he purchased his first camera, as a "weapon against poverty and racism." He used his camera to capture scenes of Chicago's South Side, and the Depression-era and World War II photographs for the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information. From 1948 to 1969, he was a staff photographer for Life magazine, where he produced powerful photographic essays on the Nation of Islam, Harlem gang members, and a pictorial on Flavio, the Brazilian child from the slums who Parks later brought to the United States. Parks also incorporated aspects of the art of photographic expression throughout his remarkable career as a motion picture director, symphonic composer, painter, poet, and writer. ( http://www.abouttimemag.com/febart.html) Gordon Parks American Gothic Gordon Parks: Ella Watson, U.S. Government Charwoman http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/fsahtml/fachap07.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Gordon Parks: Memories Left Behind http://www.pdngallery.com/legends/parks/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Time: Gordon Parks Photo Essay http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/2006/gordon_parks/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. * Herbert Eugene Randall, Jr. photographed the effects of the Civil Rights Movement in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1964, at the request of Sanford R. Leigh, the Director of Mississippi Freedom Summer's Hattiesburg project. He spent the entire summer photographing solely in Hattiesburg, among the African-American community and among the volunteers in area projects such as the Freedom Schools, Voter Registration, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party campaign. Only five of Randall's photographs were published in the summer of 1964. One seen worldwide was the bloodied, concussed Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, head of a prominent Cleveland congregation and former conscientious objector to World War II. In 1999, Randall donated 1,800 negatives to the archives of The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He and Bobs Tusa, the archivist at USM, wrote Faces of Freedom Summer, which was published by the University of Alabama Press in 2001. Faces is the only record of a single town in the midst of the Civil Rights revolution in America. At the time, the Hattiesburg Project was overlooked and unpublicized by the Civil Rights Movement. * Moneta Sleet Jr. won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s widow, Coretta Scott King, at Dr. King's funeral. Sleet is the first African American man to win the Pulitzer[4], and the first African American to win award for journalism.[5] Moneta Sleet Jr. (1926-1996) As a staff photographer for Ebony magazine, Moneta Sleet Jr. was an advocate for the black community. Any discussion of civil rights photography must include Sleet's photography. Working for Ebony allowed him to record the Civil Rights Movement from its peaceful demonstrations to rebellion- ravaged cities. For his first civil rights assignment, Sleet covered the 1956 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, and introduced its leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This attachment to Dr. King continued as Sleet recorded the indomitable courage of demonstrators during the Selma March. On some assignments he not only represented Ebony, but the black press. Such was the case when he accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and again as the only member of the black press allowed inside the church during the funeral service for Dr. King, where he produced the Pulitzer Prize-winning image of Bernice and Coretta Scott King at the memorial service. The framing and focus of that shot of King's widow and baby daughter, focused the viewer's attention and empathy on the family's grief. During his lifetime, Sleet stayed true to what he felt his mission should be, "to show the side that was the right side." ( http://www.abouttimemag.com/febart.html) Reflections in Black "Reflections in Black: Art and Activism. African American Photographs from the Smithsonian Institute" was a groundbreaking exhibition exploring how African-American photographers were instrumental in motivating cultural change. The exhibition comprises more than 130 images from the Civil Rights er a to the present, a period, exhibition organizers say, in which many AfricanAmerican photographers began to view the American civil rights movement as part of a larger and older struggle for independence and equal rights. This exhibition reveals how many photographers sought to be "graphic hstorians," creating a collective biography of African-American people that would empower them iin their struggle for civil rights, while at the same time providing evidence of the diversity of their individual histories, values and goals. Reflections in Black Slideshow (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Civil Rights Movement From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Various movements seeking civil rights, human rights and social justice since the Second World War have become known as a civil rights movement. The first movement that became famous under this name was the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, which sought rights for AfricanAmericans. In the United States, some African-Americans suffered from severe forms of oppression, including enforced racial segregation and second class citizenship, which were legally sanctioned by Jim Crow laws. Subsequently, other disadvantaged groups in the US and in other nations have organized their own movements, inspired by the tactics and rhetoric of the American civil rights movement. Such movements advocating for equal rights emerged both in democracies and in countries without a democratic government. In non-democratic states, mass movements for democracy have emerged which are also inspired by earlier civil rights movements. Chicano Movement The Chicano movement blossomed in the 1960s and was active through the late 1970s in various regions of the U.S. The movement had roots in the civil rights struggles that had preceded it, adding to it the cultural and generational politics of the era. The early heroes of the movement — Rodolfo Gonzales in Denver, Colorado and Reies Tijerina in New Mexico — adopted a historical account of the preceding hundred and twenty-five years that obscured much of MexicanAmerican history. Gonzales and Tijerina embraced a form of nationalism that was based on the failure of the United States government to live up to the promises that it had made in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In that account, Mexican-Americans were a conquered people who simply needed to reclaim their birthright and cultural heritage as part of a new nation, which later became known as Aztlán. That version of the past did not, on the other hand, take into account the history of those Mexicans who had immigrated to the United States. It also gave little attention to the rights of undocumented immigrants in the United States in the 1960s — not surprising, since immigration did not have the political significance it was to acquire in the years to come. It was only a decade later when activists, such as Bert Corona in California, embraced the rights of undocumented workers and helped broaden the focus to include their rights. Instead, when the movement dealt with practical problems most activists focused on the most immediate issues confronting Mexican-Americans: unequal educational and employment opportunities, political disenfranchisement, and police brutality. In the heady days of the late 1960s, when the student movement was active around the globe, the Chicano movement brought about more or less spontaneous actions, such as the mass walkouts by high school students in Denver and East Los Angeles in 1968 and the Chicano Moratorium in Los Angeles in 1970. Chicano Photographer: Jesús Garza Farm Workers (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. American Indian Movement At a time when sit-ins were a common U.S. protest tactic, American Indian Movement (AIM) takeovers in their early days were noticeably forceful. Some appeared to be spontaneous outcomes of protest gatherings; other times they included deliberate armed seizure of public facilities. The Alcatraz Island occupation of 1969, although commonly associated with AIM, pre-dates the organization but was a catalyst for its formation. In 1970 AIM occupied abandoned property at the Naval Air Station near Minneapolis, Minnesota. In July 1971 AIM assisted a takeover of the Winter Dam, Lac Courte Oreilles, Wisconsin. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Headquarters in Washington D.C. got seized in November 1972; the building was sacked, and 24 were arrested. The Custer County Courthouse was occupied in 1973, though the occupation was routed after a riot took place. The Wounded Knee Incident also took place then, lasted 71 days, and left at least two dead. American Indian Movement Occupation of Alcatraz The American Indian Occupation of Alcatraz Island (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. American Indian Movement (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Gender equity issues If the period associated with First-wave feminism focused upon absolute rights such as suffrage (which led to women attaining the right to vote in the early part of the 20th century), the period of the second-wave feminism was concerned with the issue of economic equality. One phenomenon included the recognition of lesbian women within the movement, due to the simultaneous rise of the gay rights movement, and the deliberate activism of lesbian feminist groups, such as the Lavender Menace. The developments led to explicit lesbian feminist campaigns and groups, and some feminists went further to argue that heterosexual sexual relationships automatically subordinated women, and that the only true independence could come in lesbian relationships ("lesbian separatism"). The second wave is sometimes linked with radical feminist theory. One interesting and under-documented aspect of the second-wave was the rise of women's cooperative living communities. An example of one such intentional community was the Chatanika River Women's Colony. LGBT rights and gay liberation Since the mid 19th century in Germany, social reformers have used the language of civil rights to argue against the "oppression of same-sex sexuality", same-sex emotional intimacy, and gender variance. Largely, but not exclusively, these LGBT movements have characterized gender variant and homosexually-oriented people as a minority group or groups; this was the approach taken by the homophile movement of the 1940s, 50s and early 60s. With the rise of secularism in the West, an increasing sexual openness, Women's Liberation, the 1960s counterculture, and a range of new social movements, the homophile movement underwent a rapid growth and transformation, with a focus on building community and unapologetic activism. This new phase came to be known as Gay Liberation. The words "Gay Liberation" echoed "Women's Liberation"; the Gay Liberation Front consciously took its name from the National Liberation Fronts of Vietnam and Algeria; and the slogan "Gay Power", as a defiant answer to the rights-oriented homophile movement, was inspired by Black Power and Chicano Power. The GLF's statement of purpose explained: "We are a revolutionary group of men and women formed with the realization that complete sexual liberation for all people cannot come about unless existing social institutions are abolished. We reject society's attempt to impose sexual roles and definitions of our nature." – GLF statement of purpose GLF activist Martha Shelley wrote, "We are women and men who, from the time of our earliest memories, have been in revolt against the sex-role structure and nuclear family structure." – "Gay is Good", Martha Shelley, 1970 Gay Liberationists aimed as transforming fundamental institutions of society such as gender and the family. In order to achieve such liberation, consciousness raising and direct action were employed. Specifically, the word 'gay' was preferred to previous designations such as homosexual or homophile; some saw 'gay' as a rejection of the false dichotomy heterosexual/homosexual. Lesbians and gays were urged to "come out", publicly revealing their sexuality to family, friends and colleagues as a form of activism, and to counter shame with gay pride. "Gay Lib" groups were formed around the world, in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, the UK, US, Italy and elsewhere. The lesbian group Lavender Menace was also formed in the U.S in response to both the male domination of other Gay Lib groups and the anti-lesbian sentiment in the Women's Movement. Lesbianism was advocated as a feminist choice for women, and the first currents of lesbian separatism began to emerge. By the late 1970s, the radicalism of Gay Liberation was eclipsed by a return to a more formal movement that became known as the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement. From a '70s Gay Liberation Front Poster (Used on the jacket cover of: Duberman, Stonewall, 1993.) http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eresources/exhibitions/sw25/case1.html Gay rights demonstration in New York City, 1976. Gay Pride Timeline Frederick Waldron Phelps, Sr. (born November 13, 1929) is the pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), an independent Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas. Phelps is also a disbarred lawyer and founder of the Phelps Chartered law firm. WBC is listed as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[1] He is known for preaching with slogans and banners denoting phrases such as "Thank God for 9/11", "God hates fags," "AIDS cures fags," and "Fags die, God laughs (or mocks)," and claims that God will punish homosexuals as well as people such as Bill O'Reilly, Coretta Scott King, Ronald Reagan, and Howard Dean, whom his church considers "fagenablers".[2][3] His church says he is a "Five-Point Calvinist".[4] He has also thanked God for the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.[5] Hate Crimes Crimes of hatred and prejudice—from lynchings to cross burnings to vandalism of synagogues—are a sad fact of American history, but the term "hate crime" did not enter the nation's vocabulary until the 1980s, when emerging hate groups like the Skinheads launched a wave of bias-related crime. The FBI began investigating what we now call hate crimes as far back as the early 1920s, when we opened our first Ku Klux Klan case. Today, we remain dedicated to working with state and local authorities to prevent these crimes and to bring to justice those who commit them. http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/hate.htm Hate Crime Victims In the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the victim of a hate crime may be an individual, a business, an institution, or society as a whole. Nationwide in 2006, law enforcement agencies reported that there were 9,652 victims of hate crimes. Of these victims, ten were victimized in two separate multiple-bias incidents. By Bias Motivation An analysis of data for victims of single-bias hate crime incidents showed that: • 52.1 percent of the victims were targeted because of the offender’s bias against a race. • 18.1 percent were victimized because of a bias against a religious belief. • 15.3 percent were targeted because of a bias against a particular sexual orientation. • 13.5 percent were victimized because of a bias against an ethnicity/national origin. • 1.0 percent were targeted because of a bias against a disability. Racial bias Among the single-bias hate crime incidents in 2006, there were 5,020 victims of racially motivated hate crime. • 66.4 percent were victims of an offender’s anti-black bias. • 21.0 percent were victims of an anti-white bias. • 4.8 percent were victims of an anti-Asian/Pacific Islander bias. • 1.5 percent were victims of an anti-American Indian/Alaskan Native bias. • 6.4 percent were victims of a bias against a group of individuals in which more than one race was represented (anti-multiple races, group). Religious bias Of the 1,750 victims of an anti-religion hate crime: • 65.4 percent were victims of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias. • 11.9 percent were victims of an anti-Islamic bias. • 4.9 percent were victims of an anti-Catholic bias. • 3.7 percent were victims of an anti-Protestant bias. • 0.5 percent were victims of an anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias. • 8.4 percent were victims of a bias against other religions (anti-other religion). • 5.3 percent were victims of a bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group). Sexual-orientation bias In 2006, of the 1,472 victims targeted due to a sexual-orientation bias: • 62.0 percent were victims of an offender’s anti-male homosexual bias. • 20.9 percent were victims of an anti-homosexual bias. • 13.7 percent were victims of an anti-female homosexual bias. • 2.0 percent were victims of an anti-heterosexual bias. Matthew Shepard Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was fatally attacked near Laramie, on the night of October 6 – October 7, 1998 in what was widely reported by international news media as a savage beating because of his homosexuality. Shepard died from severe head injuries at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12, 1998. His murder brought national attention to the issue of hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels. How can photography make a difference?
Lecture 11: On Screen And In Print-2 Required Reading Brooks, Dwight E. and Hébert, Lisa P. Gender, Race, and Media Representation Download PDF Lecture How Hollywood Stereotypes The Native Americans TCM's Race & Hollywood (Roles for Asians) TCM's Race & Hollywood (Roles for Asians 2) Racial Stereotyping (Part 1 of 2), Television: Inside & Out Racial Stereotyping (Part 2 of 2), Television: Inside & Out Latino Stereotypes and Representation in the Media Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People - Trailer The Celluloid Closet KILLING US SOFTLY 3 ADVERTISING’S IMAGE OF WOMEN | FEATURING JEAN KILBOURNE SYNOPSIS & KEY POINTS SYNOPSIS • A widening cultural space in which aesthetic codes and ideals of femininity turn men’s violence against women into art, and women against their own bodies. • An arena of impossible ideals that derives its power from cyclically feeding and feeding off of reactionary attitudes toward women. • A repetitious image system that normalizes sexism and men’s violence against women even as, and perhaps because, American women continue to struggle and make progress despite these daily social realities. • A place where pervasive images of men’s violence against women, along with passive, vulnerable and dehumanized images of women themselves, conspire to reinforce the culture's casual attitudes toward domestic violence and rape. • A showcase of so-called “cutting-edge” advertising techniques that continue to thrive on old ideas, including the objectification and dismemberment of women’s bodies, the cult of thinness, the cooptation of feminism and women’s equality, the infantilization of women, the sexualization of children and teenagers, and the stereotyping of women of color. • A world in which advertising image and copy conspire to silence girls and women. KEY POINTS • Because of the prevalence of advertising in our culture, the sheer amount of cultural space it occupies, it is crucial to examine and understand the stories advertising tells us about femininity and what it means to be a woman. • In addition to products, advertising attempts to sell women the myth that they can, and should, achieve physical perfection to have value in our culture. • As advertising pushes its objects, it turns women’s bodies into objects, often dismembering them with excessive focus on just one part of the body to sell a product. • Advertisers themselves acknowledge that they sell more than products, that the images in advertising are designed to affect the way we see our lives. • Men and women inhabit very different worlds. Men’s bodies are not routinely scrutinized, criticized and judged in the way that women’s bodies are. • There is a tremendous amount of contempt for women who don’t measure up to the advertisers’ ideal of beauty. This is particularly true for older women and women who are considered overweight. • Media images of female beauty influence everyone. They influence how women feel about them selves, and they influence how men feel about the real women in their lives. • Little girls and teenagers are increasingly sexualized in advertisements. A growing number of ads are reminiscent of child pornography. • The negative and distorted image of women in advertising affects not only how men feel about women but also how men feel about anything labeled “feminine” in themselves. • In general, human qualities are divided up, polarized, and labeled “masculine” and “feminine,” with the “feminine” consistently devalued. • Advertising is not solely to blame for rigid gender roles. However, there is no aspect of our culture that is as pervasive and persuasive as advertising. KEY POINTS • A widening cultural space in which aesthetic codes and ideals of femininity turn men’s violence against women into art, and women against their own bodies. • An arena of impossible ideals that derives its power from cyclically feeding and feeding off of reactionary attitudes toward women. • A repetitious image system that normalizes sexism and men’s violence against women even as, and perhaps because, American women continue to struggle and make progress despite these daily social realities. • A place where pervasive images of men’s violence against women, along with passive, vulnerable and dehumanized images of women themselves, conspire to reinforce the culture's casual attitudes toward domestic violence and rape. • A showcase of so-called “cutting-edge” advertising techniques that continue to thrive on old ideas, including the objectification and dismemberment of women’s bodies, the cult of thinness, the cooptation of feminism and women’s equality, the infantilization of women, the sexualization of children and teenagers, and the stereotyping of women of color. • A world in which advertising image and copy conspire to silence girls and women. • Changes in advertising will depend on an aware, active, educated public that thinks of itself primarily as citizens rather than as consumers. INTRODUCTION Key Points: • In 1979, companies spent $20 billion on advertising. In 1999, companies spent $180 billion on advertising. • The average American views 3000 advertisements in a day. • The average American will spend 3 years of his or her life watching television commercials. • Advertising is the foundation of the mass media. The primary purpose of the mass media is to sell products. • Advertising sells not only products, but also values, images, concepts of love and sexuality, romance, success and normalcy. • In recent years, computer retouching has become a primary technique used by advertisers. Before photographs are published, they are digitally retouched to make the models appear perfect. Complexion is cleaned up, eye lines are softened, chins, thighs and stomachs are trimmed, and neck lines are removed. • Computers can even create faces and bodies of women who don’t exist. OBJECTIFICATION “Women are constantly turned into things, into objects. And of course this has very serious consequences. For one thing it creates a climate in which there is widespread violence against women. Now I’m not at all saying that an ad… directly causes violence. It’s not that simple, but it is part of a cultural climate in which women are seen as things, as objects, and certainly turning a human being into a thin is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” Jean Kilbourne Key Points: • The objectification of women in advertisements is part of a cultural climate in which women are seen as things, as objects. • Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person. • Most women who have had breast implants lose sensation in their breasts, so their breasts become an object of someone else’s pleasure rather than pleasurable in themselves. The woman literally moves from being a subject to being an object. 1. Examine the Francesco Biasia ad. What do you see? What is the advertisement trying to sell? Who is the ad targeting? How is this woman’s body turned into a thing? Does this woman look like a real person with thoughts, opinions and goals? Can you imagine seeing a man’s body used in this way rather than a woman’s? Why? Why not? How does this ad make you feel? 2. Examine the Ford ad. What do you see? What is the advertisement trying to sell? Who is the ad targeting? In what way is this woman’s body turned into a thing? Does this woman look like a real person with thoughts, opinions and goals? Can you imagine seeing a man’s body used in this way rather than a woman’s? Why? Why not? How does this ad make you feel? DISMEMBERMENT “Women’s bodies continue to be dismembered in advertising. Over and over again just one part of the body is used to sell products, which is, of course, the most dehumanizing thing you can do to someone. Not only is she a thing, but just one part of that thing is focused on.” Jean Kilbourne 1. Look at the Bacardi ad. What feelings are the advertisers trying to create with this ad? Were they effective? Why do you think the advertisers chose to focus only on this woman’s stomach? What is this ad saying, implying or promising? 2. Look at the Aubade ad. What feelings are the advertisers trying to create with this ad? Were they effective? Why do you the advertisers choose to focus only on this woman’s breasts? What is this ad saying, implying or promising? 3. Why do you think advertisers might choose to focus on only one body part? 4. What is your reaction to advertisers using dismemberment as an advertising technique? 5. What are some consequences of this technique? On our perceptions? Our attitudes? Currently, legs seem to be a particularly popular body part on which to focus. 6. Why do you think advertisers might choose to draw attention to legs? 7. When advertisers choose to focus explicitly on legs, do they present a diversity of body types? Why do youthink they portray legs the way they do? 8. What are some possible effects on young girls and women of constantly seeing images like these? Whatabout effects on young boys and men? THE OBSESSION WITH THINNESS “…the omnipresent media consistently portrays desirable women as thin…even as real women grow heavier, models and beautiful women are portrayed as thinner. In the last two decades we have developed a national cult of thinness. What is considered beautiful has become slimmer and slimmer. For example, in 1950 the White Rock mineral water girl was 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. Today she is 5 feet 10 inches and weighs 110 pounds. Girls compare their own bodies to our cultural ideals and find them wanting. Dieting and dissatisfaction with bodies have become normal reactions to puberty. Girls developed eating disorders when our culture developed a standard of beauty that they couldn’t obtain by being healthy. When unnatural thinness became attractive, girls did unnatural things to be thin.” Mary Pipher, Reviving Ophelia Key Points: • As girls reach adolescence, they get the message that they should not be too powerful, should not take up too much space. They are told constantly that they should be less than what they are. • At least 1 in 5 young women in America today has an eating disorder. • One recent study of fourth grade girls found that 80% of them were on diets. • Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, the average model weighs 23% less than the average woman. • Only 5% of women have the body type (tall, genetically thin, broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, long-legged and usually small-breasted) seen in almost all advertising. (When the models have large breasts, they’ve almost always had breast implants.) • The obsession with thinness is used to sell cigarettes. • 4 out of 5 women are dissatisfied with their appearance. • Almost half of American women are on a diet on any given day. • 5-10 million women are struggling with serious eating disorders. FOOD & ADVERTISING “[In American culture] emotional nourishment is linked with physical nourishment. Many of our words for those we love are food words, such as sweetie, sugar and honey.” The association between food and intimacy can be dangerous for women who struggle with binge eating disorders and bulimia, since bingeing often represents an attempt to satisfy an emotional hunger rather than a physical one. Advertisements that support emotional eating and imply that “you can never have too much” encourage, or at least normalize, the attitudes that lead to bingeing. There are many other ways that advertising supports eating-disordered attitudes. Women are sent the message that they shouldn’t eat too much, that it is appropriate to eat only a cereal bar for breakfast, and that they gain power and respect by controlling their bodies. When advertising for food is examined in conjunction with the prevalence of extremely thin models, we discover a recipe for disordered attitudes toward eating. Key Points: • The American food industry spends $36 billion on advertising each year. • Women’s magazines are full of ads for rich foods and recipes. • Eating has become a moral issue. Words such as “guilt” and “sin” are often used to sell food. • Americans spend more than $36 billion dollars on dieting and diet-related products each year. • 95% of all dieters regain the weight they lost, and more, within five years. • Articles about the dangers of diet products are often contradicted by advertisements for diet products within the same magazine. • Sex is frequently used to sell food. Many ads eroticize food and normalize bingeing. These ideas support dangerous eating-disordered behaviors. WOMAN VS. WOMAN Girls and women are often depicted in the mass media as being in competition with each other for men. This phenomenon can have consequences. If these media depictions are absorbed, they can create suspicion between women, make it difficult for them to form solid friendships and bonds, and undermine trust. It can also isolate girls and women from one another and keep them from finding the strength (emotional and political) found in numbers to question and challenge the status quo. SILENCING: DOES HER VOICE MATTER? Key Points: • There are many images in advertising that silence women – images that show women with their hands over their mouths and other visuals, as well as copy, that strip women of their voices. • The body language of young women and girls in advertising is usually passive and vulnerable. Conversely, the body language of men and boys is usually powerful, active and aggressive. THE TRIVIALIZATION OF POWER Key Points: • When girls are shown with power in advertising, it is almost always a very masculine definition of power. • Often the power that women are offered in advertising is silly and trivial. • Women are often infantilized in advertisements, producing and reinforcing the sense that they should not grow up, resist becoming a mature sexual being, and remain little girls. THE SEXUALIZATION OF TEENAGERS In recent years, mainstream media have increasingly traded in the sexualization of young girls and teenagers. More and more, we see teen models and icons captured in seductive poses that draw attention to their bodies. When teenagers emulate the celebrities and models they see repeatedly in media – whether in dress, style, attitude or behavior – they are in effect emulating a carefully crafted fiction that is expressly designed by marketers to be consumed as an object. AGEISM IN ADVERTISING: “KEEP YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL IF YOU WANT TO BE LOVED.” Advertisements rarely feature women over the age of 35, and there are many advertisements for beauty products that claim to help women continue to look young, even when they no longer are. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN • A woman is raped somewhere in America every 2 minutes. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, March 1998) • 1 in 4 women will be raped in her lifetime. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, March 1998) • 32,260 women were murdered by an intimate from 1976-1996. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, March 1998) • 66-80% of victims know their offender. (FBI, 1990) • More than 50% of all women will experience violence from intimate partners. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1992) • Wife beating results in more injuries requiring medical treatment than rape, auto accidents, and muggings combined. (Stark, E. and Fliterart, A. "Medical Therapy as Repression: The Case of Battered Women," Health and Medicine. Summer/Fall (1982) 29-32) • 30% of women murdered in the U.S. are murdered by their husbands, exhusbands or boyfriends. (Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey, August 1995) • Despite the alarming rates of men’s violence against women in the United States, women and girls are frequently depicted in the media as victims of violence. Often, the violence is sexualized. Scenes of violent assaults against women are used continually in horror films for entertainment purposes, and some companies use violent images in their advertising campaigns for shock and aesthetic value to help sell their products. Because we see these images regularly and without serious commentary, they become normal. The activities in this section will help make students aware of how media trivialize men’s violence against women. Key Points: • Increasingly, more advertisements show women as victims of sexual harassment and violence. • Violence against women is normalized by advertisements. • Women live in a world defined by the threat of sexual violence and intimidation. The portrayal of women in advertising supports, rather than objects to, these threats. • Masculinity in advertising is often linked with violence, brutality and ruthlessness. Men are constantly portrayed as the perpetrators of violence. • Violence, hostility and dominance are often presented as erotic, attractive and appealing in advertising. INTRODUCTION KEY POINTS • Since MTV debuted in 1981 music videos have become a central part of our popular culture. They are now found on multiple television channels, in many different media, and across most genres of music. The images and stylistic conventions of music video have influenced other types of film, television, and advertising. • Music videos essentially function as advertising for the recording industry and, like other forms advertising, have long relied on provocative images of female sexuality to attract viewer attention. • Across the media culture— in movies, television, advertising, and more—stories that link women’s identities with their bodies and sexuality are everywhere. However, these stories are especially prevalent, and intense, in music videos. • Looking closely at the stories music videos tell about both male and female sexuality provides us with insights into our own identities, and helps us understand what the culture teaches about what it means to be a “normal” man or a woman. TECHNIQUES OF STORYTELLING KEY POINTS • Sexualized female bodies are so much a part of music videos that they seem to be everywhere in videos that span the genres of rock, pop, hip-hop, and country. The female body appears so frequently and in such limited ways that it is easy to identify the conventions that are used by video producers. • The major conventions include: Inserting shots of sexualized women into scenes of band performances. Often this occurs in bizarre ways with the women made up in outlandish costumes. Sometimes the women appear as dancers, sometimes they appear as if they are background musicians, sometimes they are near the band. Producers use this convention more than any other. Showing images of women as members of the audience at live shows. Frequently these women expose their bodies to the band. Hypersexualized women are also shown just hanging around band members. Their only function here is to draw the attention of male viewers and pull them into the fantasy world constructed by the musicians and video producers. Sometimes the women play a key role in the narrative of the video, often playing out standard heterosexual male fantasies such as group sex with multiple women. • Beyond what may appear in any one video there is a consistent story about masculinity and femininity told by the entire system of music videos. It is therefore crucial to identify what stories about men and women are being told, who is telling these stories, and what the effects of these stories on audiences may be. CONSTRUCTING FEMININITY KEY POINTS • Our ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman are not natural, we are not born with them. They come from the culture that surrounds us. • According to music videos, all that really matters about women is their sexuality. • This version of female sexuality is defined in very particular ways. Women are depicted as: Ravenous. Always aroused, always desiring sex. Indiscriminate. They will have sex with any man who is around. They will have sex at any time and in any place: public restrooms, cars, swimming pools, and hot tubs. Sexually aggressive. They care only about having sex and will do anything to get it. • Women in music videos tend to far outnumber men, as the standard adolescent heterosexual male fantasy of multiple sex partners plays out repeatedly. • Men, meanwhile, hold all the power because women need them so much. When men are not immediately available, women are shown using everyday objects to replace them. And when men are completely absent the women fall apart, unable to cope until the man returns to provide them with purpose in their lives. • Women in music videos participate in a restricted range of activities, all meant to titillate heterosexual male viewers: stripping, partying, dancing, sunbathing, swimming, washing cars in bikinis and wet t-shirts, mud wrestling, and showering. Water is frequently used as an erotic element just as in standard heterosexual male fantasy images. • The women in music videos are usually barely dressed and when they do wear clothes they tend to be low-cut and skimpy tops, stockings, and lingerie. • Women also appear in a limited number of roles, again drawn straight from standard heterosexual male fantasies: cheerleaders, airline stewardesses, hotel maids, naughty nurses, repressed librarians, lustful school teachers and schoolgirls, police women and dominatrixes, and strippers—the latter an especially common role for women in music videos. • Women are often seen touching, fondling, and making love to other women, even as gay men are completely absent from music videos. This provides a clue to the source of the imagination behind the stories. THE PORNOGRAPHIC IMAGINATION KEY POINTS • Sex between women, commonly referred to as “girl on girl action,” is a mainstay of heterosexual male pornography. In this, and other ways, music videos increasingly resemble pornography. • Also like pornography, music videos are not just voyeuristic but also misogynistic. Women in music videos are routinely treated with disrespect and disdain and they are sometimes subjected to violence. • While this is true across music video genres, it is particularly the case in many hip-hop videos. While black women were invisible in the early days of music video, as hip-hop has achieved widespread popularity, black women’s bodies have become a prominent feature in hip-hop videos. However, at the same time they have been reduced to isolated body parts and defined solely through their sexuality. • For example, in the video “Tip Drill” – a term that refers to women having sex with multiple men in exchange for money -- Nelly swipes a credit card through a woman’s backside. Again and again, hip-hop videos depict men in this way, showing them disdainfully throwing money at black women's bodies, treating them like strippers and prostitutes. Nelly - "Tip Drill" • Meanwhile, black men are repeatedly portrayed as violent, drunken, misogynistic savages. These distorted images are some of the most racist in media history, harkening back to D.W. Griffith’s controversial 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which justified white supremacy by representing black men as animalistic, boorish abusers of white women. • As with Birth of a Nation, the controlling forces behind the images of music videos are usually white men. In the case of music video, the power brokers, and ultimate decision makers, are those (primarily) white (primarily) males who run the world’s huge media conglomerates. • The connection between pornography and music video is made explicit in the Snoop Dogg DVD Diary of a Pimp. This DVD was produced in collaboration with Larry Flynt’s pornography empire, the publishers of Hustler magazine. In the video, after Snoop Dogg turns a female journalist into a sexual plaything, he looks at the camera and says, “Mission accomplished: another bitch broke.” Snoop Dog - "Diary of a Pimp" • But it is not just hip-hop videos that share this relationship with pornography. In rock and pop videos the connections are also obvious. Female porn stars have appeared in music videos, and porn directors have produced music videos. • In a film called Backstage Sluts, male rock stars cavort with porn actresses, and, in an incredibly degrading display of misogyny, the men are shown throwing food at the women’s naked bodies. • The video for the song “Stacey’s Mom,” by Fountains of Wayne, makes it clear that music videos represent the dream worlds of heterosexual adolescent males as a 15year- old boy is shown fantasizing about, and masturbating to, images of his girlfriend’s supermodel mother. Watch the video “Stacey’s Mom,” by Fountains of Wayne • The critique of music videos offered in Dreamworlds 3 is not a moralistic one. The argument is not that sex, and the representation of it, is bad. In fact, the real question is not whether the images of music videos are either good or bad. Instead, the most important questions are about power and control: Whose story is being told? Whose story is not being told? Whose eyes do we see the world through? Whose eyes do we never see the world through? Who’s in control of these images? Who’s behind the camera? Whose fantasies are shown, and whose fantasies are never seen? • The point is not that there is too much sex in media and popular culture, but that there is not enough. Meaning, there is not enough diversity, not a wide enough range of alternative images and differing perspectives. WAYS OF LOOKING KEY POINTS • Music videos use many strategies to communicate the message that femininity is only about women’s bodies and sexuality, and that women’s identities are based on how desirable they are to men. • It is not just the narratives – or stories – of the videos that communicate these messages, but also the visual techniques that producers employ. In other words, just as relevant as the content of music videos is how women in music videos are filmed. And by examining how women are framed by the camera, we can begin to understand the stories about femininity that are being told. • Women are often shown posing in front of a camera—inviting the gaze of the presumably male viewer. Even when there is no camera visible, women pose as if they are on display for a camera, wanting to be watched and open to whatever men want. • Women are also shown touching themselves and stroking their own bodies—an implicit invitation to the presumably male viewer. • When no man or camera is visible, women in music videos pose for themselves in front of mirrors. The message here is that they want to be watched, they yearn for attention. • None of this happens by accident. These are all deliberate choices by predominantly male writers, directors, and editors. And the choices that are made are clues to how women are regarded by those who produce the videos. • Women are displayed as passive objects in music videos, not as real, unique, thinking human beings. • Often the camera pans up and down women’s bodies, roaming at will. This legitimizes exactly this kind of gazing from men. The women’s sole function is in fact to be watched. • Camera angles also help to convey the meaning of the videos. Women are shot from above—with the camera looking down into their cleavage. Or they are shown bending over to display their cleavage to the viewer. They are shot from below, as if the viewer is sneaking an illicit peek up their dresses. Sometimes they are shot from between their legs so that their legs frame the action of the scene. • Over and over again, the camera focuses on just one part of their bodies, rather than on the whole woman. The women are broken apart into a series of disconnected, fragmented body parts. Not really people but just objects. • Because these conventions bear such a striking resemblance to pornography, they can be considered symptomatic of the pornographic gaze. Women are denied their subjectivity in both pornography and music videos. Focusing on just one part of their bodies keeps us from thinking of them as real, as thinking people who are unique and active individuals. • There is nothing inherently wrong with these types of filmic techniques. In the real world, both men and women alike take pleasure in being gazed at and in gazing at others. The problem is that in the world of music video, and in so many other parts of our media culture, this is the only way that women are represented. • The women of music videos are only presented as sexual objects – not as intellectual, athletic, political, creative, spiritual, independent, or autonomous human beings. This represents a severe narrowing of what is important and valuable about real women. • A little objectification might not be as harmful if it were balanced by a more complete array of images. Instead, only one story is told. Women are constantly depicted as passive objects whose only function is to please men. • This narrow range of representation suggests to viewers that there is only one way to think about femininity. It ignores the complexity of real women and reduces them to nothing but body parts. And there are real consequences for the boys and girls, and men and women, who grow up and relate to one another in this sort of a culture. • Girls who grow up surrounded by these images may become trapped in a notion of sexuality that is not their own. They may internalize these ideas about women and come to accept them as natural. The Girls Gone Wild series of videos shows real girls and young women who have embraced the images and stories of pornography, music videos, advertising, and other aspects of media culture. They view their own identities and their own sexuality through the male gaze and act out the male fantasies that are repeated over and over again in popular culture. FEMALE ARTISTS: TRAPPED IN THE PORNOGRAPHIC GAZE KEY POINTS • In order to gain success in the world of popular music, female artists have to adopt the same visual conventions that are used in music videos by male artists. • Female artists may have their own vision in mind but they face tremendous pressure to conform to a narrow pre-existing set of options, and it has become difficult to even imagine what an alternative to these standard images might be. • Mainstream female artists seductively perform for the camera and enact the same conventions we see when women are used as scenery in male artists’ videos. They undress, touch themselves, and allow the camera to roam their bodies and focus in on disconnected body parts. • Even artists like Madonna or Gwen Stefani, who want to convey a powerful and independent persona, find that the only way for women to express power in music videos is through the use of their sexuality. Here they face acontradiction, and must make severe compromises: because female sexuality in music videos has been objectified and defined as soft and submissive. • If we look at how some artists’ images have changed over time we can see how the pressure to conform is relentless. Jewel, for example, did not exploit her sexuality in early videos. But later in her career, she began to adopt the same sexual imagery that is conventional in many music videos. This is true for many other female artists as well, such as Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, and Jessica Simpson. • To be accepted in the mainstream of the culture, female artists find that they must embrace the vision of the pornographic imagination and enact the fantasies of male video producers and viewers. MASCULINITY AND CONTROL KEY POINTS • Like other female artists, Janet Jackson is an example of a singer who did not become a superstar until she adopted a hypersexualized image. • Jackson came under fire for her role in the notorious “wardrobe malfunction” incident during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. But what got lost in the ensuing media firestorm was the fact that Janet Jackson was only one half of the act. Media critics tended to ignore the role that Justin Timberlake played in this incident, barely commenting on the actual content of the song and the subject matter of the performance prior to the “malfunction.” They ignored the fact that throughout the performance Timberlake played the role of a man bent on controlling a woman’s body. • In one of his most popular videos, Timberlake plays out the role of a male stalker who invades the home of his ex-girlfriend, Britney Spears, and watches her strip and shower. In this way, the video glamorizes real-life stalking and abuse, turning it into a form of entertainment. Watch the video "Cry Me A River" by Justin Timberlake • Many music videos tell a story about masculinity that equates manhood with power and domination. This story complements the story of femininity as passive and women as submissive. • Women in music videos are shown gyrating in cages, tied up and writhing on beds, and being chased and captured by men. Men in music videos push, slap, and spank women. Men push women against walls, throw objects at them, and douse them in water and alcohol. • Women in music videos never really say no to sex. They may resist at first, but usually they then become aroused, give in, and enjoy the assault. The message is that “no means yes.” • Men’s violence against women is eroticized in many music videos. • A prime example can be found in the video for “Eat You Alive” by Limp Bizkit. The band’s lead singer, Fred Durst, ties a woman to a chair, sprays her with a hose, and screams violent threats and insults through a megaphone held inches from her face. Images like this, and those found in many other music videos, normalize and glamorize sexual violence. We must ask what consequences they have for relationships between real men and women who grow up with these images. Watch the video “Eat You Alive” by Limp Bizkit. • While women in music videos welcome and invite sexual pursuit from strangers and casual acquaintances, women in the real world find this threatening. Men often feel entitled to say anything they want to women in public spaces, or even to follow them, even though this might frighten and upset women, who for obvious reasons often don’t find this kind of thing exciting or erotic. • At the 2000 Puerto Rican Day Pride Parade in Central Park, women were doused with water, stripped, and sexually assaulted by groups of men. Images from home videos used by the police in subsequent investigations of these incidents bear a shocking resemblance to scenes that have played out in hundreds of music videos – but with one major difference: The women who are subjected to this treatment in music videos like it and become sexually aroused, while the women captured on tape in the real world are terrified and traumatized. They do not find the abuse erotic or exciting. • A similar photograph was taken at the 2001 Mardi Gras Festival in Seattle when a mob of men surrounded a woman they stripped naked and sexually assaulted. We have to ask how these men, who look just like “normal” men, might have justified and rationalized their abusive, criminal behavior. • The aggressive sexual objectification of women by men carries with it a deep contradiction. It simultaneously involves both desire and contempt for women. So even as some men claim to be attracted to women, they talk about them in the most degrading language imaginable—as “bitches,” or as animals who need to be tamed. These men view sex as punishment directed toward women who “deserve it.” • A crucial point needs to be made, a distinction: The images and stories of music videos, and other forms of media culture, do not directly cause men to harm women. But they do dehumanize women and thus make it easier to inflict and justify abusive treatment. They contribute to an environment where men’s violence against women is legitimized and the female victims of this violence are blamed for the brutality that men inflict on them. They encourage an attitude of callous disdain while all the while implying that this is how women want to be treated—that women in fact desire harassment, stalking, and assault. • Our fantasies matter because they are fodder for our values, beliefs, and attitudes. The heterosexual male fantasies of the Dreamworld are not just entertainment. They play an important and powerful role in shaping ourattitudes and beliefs about gender and sexual relationships. • In the real world violence against women is neither entertaining nor erotic. But it is an all-too-normal part of our society: More than 1 million women are stalked by intimate partners every year. 1 in 5 college females will be the victim of rape or attempted rape. On college campuses 90% of rape victims know their assailants. A sexual assault occurs every 2 1⁄2 minutes in America. 1 in 6 women has been the victim of sexual assault.
Lecture 12: Contemporary Reactions Required Reading No readings for this module. Lecture •WARNING: This module contains nudity and graphic sexual content• Many contemporary fine art photographers are dealing with the issues we have covered in this class in the making of their artwork. Let’s look at a few… Start by viewing the slideshow below and then proceed to look at the info on additional contemporary artists below. View Slideshow : Contemporary Photographers React to Otherness Robert Mapplethorpe I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before. -Robert Mapplethorpe Robert Mapplethorpe was born November 4, 1946, in Floral Park, New York. He left home in 1962 and enrolled at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in 1963, where he studied painting and sculpture and received his B.F.A. in 1970. During this time, he met artist, poet, and musician Patti Smith. She encouraged his work and posed for numerous portraits when they lived together in Brooklyn and in the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, a gathering place for artists, writers, and musicians in the early 1970s. It was not Mapplethorpe’s original intention to be a photographer, and from 1970 to 1974, he mainly made assemblage constructions that incorporate images of men from pornographic magazines with found objects and painting. Interested in portraiture, Mapplethorpe worked as a staff photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. He also produced album covers for Smith and the group Television, and at the same time photographed socialites and celebrities such as John Paul Getty III and Carolina Herrera. Two of Mapplethorpe’s friends were influential in his continuing exploration of photography as a means of art making. He met John McKendry, Curator of Prints and Photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1971. The curator bought Mapplethorpe his first camera and persuaded him to take up photography full-time. Mapplethorpe traveled to Europe for the first time with McKendry, where he was introduced to many of the collectors who later became sitters for portraits. Curator and photography collector Sam Wagstaff, whom he met in 1972, became Mapplethorpe’s friend and eventual lover, encouraging the photographer’s development, gallery associations, and career course. They remained close until Wagstaff’s death in 1986. Mapplethorpe had his first substantial shows in 1977, both in New York: an exhibition of photographs of flowers at the Holly Solomon Gallery and one of male nudes and sadomasochistic imagery at the Kitchen. Mapplethorpe’s diverse work—homoerotic images, floral still lifes, pictures of children, commissioned portraits, mixed-media sculpture—is united by the constancy of his approach and technique. The surfaces of his prints offer a seemingly endless gradation of blacks and whites, shadow and light, and regardless of subject, his images are both elegant and provocative. In the mid-to-late 1980s, returning to the sculptural use of photography seen in his early assemblages, Mapplethorpe created sensual diptychs and triptychs of photographs printed on fabric and luxurious cloth panels. In 1988, four major exhibitions of his work were organized: by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and the National Portrait Gallery, London. (http://www.guggenheimcollection.org/site/artist_bio_97A.html) Mapplethorpe died due to complications from AIDS on March 9, 1989, in Boston. Mapplethorpe did a collection of black male nudes published in a book titled “The Black Book”. According to Kobena Mercer, a critic who has written extensively on Mapplethorpe’s work, Mapplethorpe uses formal conventions in his photographic work to construct the mise-en-scene of fantasy and desire. He uses a sculptural code, concerning the posing and posture of the body in the studio enclosure, a code of portraiture concentrated on the face, a code of lighting and framing, fragmenting bodies in textured formal abstractions. THE CONTROVERSY The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia organized a Mapplethorpe retrospective exhibition titled The Perfect Moment. A retrospective is an art show exhibiting the work of an artist or school over a period of years. The exhibition contained 175 photographs from Mapplethorpe's oeuvre: elegant still lifes of flowers and statutes; celebrity and art world portraits; and powerfully erotic male nudes, often with leather and S/M imagery. Mapplethorpe's X, Y, and Z portfolios were included in the show. The X portfolio centers around S/M imagery. The Y portfolio centers around flowers, and the Z portfolio centers around black men. For Kobena Mercer, Mapplethorpe explores the savage/civilized myth in our society through his photograph Man in a Polyester Suit. Mapplethorpe did portraits of celebrities, children, and commissioned portraits. Included in the show were two photographs of young children; one of a nude boy named Jesse sitting alone on a chair and the other of a girl named Rosie partially nude sitting alone. The exhibition first opened at the Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art in April 1989 where it received rave reviews. In the same month it opened there, Robert Mapplethorpe, 42, died from an AIDS related illness. The show continued to travel after Mapplethorpe’s death. Although the exhibition had sparked no controversy at its first two venues, the threat of right-wing objections to the photographs of S/M and homoerotic acts prompted officials at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to cancel the show two weeks before its scheduled opening. The exhibition instead traveled to the Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, D.C., where it received record attendance. The Corcoran Gallery of Art's decision to cancel put museums and galleries in a very difficult situation. Prior to the initial right-wing objections to the controversial images, the exhibition was scheduled to be shown at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center in conservative Cincinnati, Ohio. When the exhibition arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1990, I was an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati. My photography teacher took us downtown to the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center (CCAC) to see the important exhibition. Due to the content of some of the images in the show, CCAC officials restricted access to the museum to those over 18. In the exhibition containing his notable flowers, portraits and classical nudes, there was a separate room with a sign posted outside the entrance warning the viewer that the images contained inside (the special room) portrayed explicit sexual content. If the viewer decided to enter they would see seven S/M portraits. Some of the more challenging S/M images include: one man urinating into the mouth of another man (Jim and Tom, Sausalito, 1977-78);the fist of one man inserted into the anus of another man, a finger inserted into the slit of a penis, and a self-portrait of the artist inserting a bullwhip into his anus (Self-Portrait, 1978). (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Mapplethorpe documented the underground S&M gay sex scene in NYC in the 1970s, a community in which he belonged. No matter what he photographed, whether it was a celebrity face, an orchid, or an S/M activity, he did so with the same sense of formalism and technical perfection. So knowing what a retrospective exhibition is helps to understand why these S/M images were included in the exhibition. While viewing the exhibition, a brigade of men wearing police uniforms filed in to the gallery and ordered us to leave. The Cincinnati Police Department closed the exhibition down stating that the exhibition was "obscene". Both the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and its director Dennis Barrie were prosecuted on charges of "pandering obscenity". The exhibition of this acclaimed artist was censored, and the public lost its right to choose whether or not to see the exhibition. Robert Mapplethorpe (American 1946-1989) Demonstrations were quickly formed by both sides: there were people stating that the work was immoral and obscene on one side and people defending freedom of speech on the other. Many of the venues in which Mapplethorpe's work was exhibited were publicly funded. Many conservative and religious groups, such as the American Family Association, did not feel that public funding should not support "obscene" artwork. And so a larger debate on public funding and the future of the National Endowment for the Arts sprung out of the closing of Mapplethorpe's exhibition in Cincinnati. In addition to the debate over Mapplethorpe's contrroversial S/M imagery, some felt that the inclusion of the two images depicting minors (with their genitals exposed) in an exhibition with other images containing strong sexual (homoerotic) content, was improper, and they called these images pornographic and obscene. The exhibition as a whole prompted discussion of protected speech, community standards and the legal definition of obscenity. John Tozer writes in his articleIn the Eye of the Beholder , "This however does a disservice not only to Rosie the child, in describing her image in this way, but to Mapplethorpe the photographer, as although he would have been aware that the image was certainly striking, not least in the intensity of the child's gaze, Rosie is, in the context of the rest of his oeuvre, a moderate and compassionate depiction of humanity. What seemed to be overlooked or ignored by the majority of commentators at the time was that in order for an image such as Rosie, to be seen as pornographic the viewer must project a pornographic sensibility onto it. So despite the fact that Rosie clearly has her childish genitals on view, they can only be seen as pornographic, (and by extension erotic), by an individual who has a predisposition to seeing them in that way, whether they be paedophiles or moral crusaders. To anyone of a rational sensibility Rosie is just a striking photograph of a little girl who happens not to be wearing any knickers." (http://www.variant.randomstate.org/6texts/John_Tozer.html) In 1973, in the most important case on freedom of expression, Miller vs. California, the Court established the "three-pronged test" for obscenity, which still applies today. The case concerned bookseller Marvin Miller's conviction under California obscenity laws for distributing illustrated books of a sexual nature. In Miller, the Court's decision stated that obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment (a reaffirmation of Roth) and that such speech may be regulated by the state under certain circumstances. In order to meet the definition of obscene material articulated in this case, three conditions must be met: (a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value The Court also determined that a jury may measure "the essentially factual issues of prurient appeal and patent offensiveness by the standard that prevails in the forum community, and need not employ a 'national standard.'" This establishes a role for the community in making decisions about obscene material. Obscenity is a narrow category describing materials that meet all three prongs of the definition above. Such material, even if some describe it as art, may be deemed obscene and banned by the state. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/whodecides/firstamendment.html) After a long and costly trial, Barrie and the CCAC were acquitted. The outcome for public art funding was not so favorable. Congress cut the NEA budget by $45,000 and passed a bill that prevented federal financing of works that display ”depictions of sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the sexual exploitation of children, or of individuals engaged in sex acts which taken as a whole, do not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” A federal court invalidated the amendment in 1990 as unconstitutionally vague and chilling the exercise of First Amendment rights.(http://www.ncac.org/timeline/1989.htm) The Robert Mapplethorpe Foudation (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Robert Mapplethorpe's Extraordinary Vision (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Mapplethorpe battle changed art world (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Art Forum Gallery: Robert Mapplethorpe (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Andres Serrano Andres Serrano was born in New York in 1950. From 1967-1969 He studied at Brooklyn Museum and Art School, NY. He currently lives and works in New York. The only son of an Honduran immigrant father and a mother of Afro-Cuban origin, Andres Serrano spent most of his childhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City. Like his family, his predominantly Italian-American neighbors were devoutly Catholic, and religion played a significant part in his growing up - in school, at home and on the streets. When Serrano was still a young boy, his father left the family to return to Honduras. Raised by a mother who spoke little English, and who was often hospitalized by frequent bouts of psychosis, he was forced to fend for himself from an early age. After an initial school trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, young Serrano began to return to the museum on his own and became enamored with Renaissance painting, in particular its religious iconography. At the age of 15, he dropped out of high school with the ambition of becoming an artist and from 1967-1969 he attended the Brooklyn Museum of Art School. Unfortunately his art practice was delayed for several years after he became caught up with drugs and the harsh street life of New York's urban poor. At the age of 28, Serrano gave up drugs and began working in various straight jobs. These included a stint as an assistant art director at an advertising firm, and while he enjoyed the work, he still wished to pursue an art career full-time. Attracted to painting and sculpture yet insecure about his technical abilities, he focused on photography, with which he had become familiar in his position as art director. From the beginning Serrano thought of himself as an artist using photography, and not as a photographer per se, the distinction being that he was not interested in documenting 'reality', but in creating his own. Influenced by the pre-war European art movements of Surrealism and Dada, the first images Serrano created (back in 1983) were tableaux incorporating religious iconography, dead animals, raw meat and human subjects, amongst other elements. More than any other, blood was the constant element tying these images together. A symbol for passion and violence, it became the ideal vehicle to convey Serrano's preoccupation with the sacrificial dramas of spiritual, political and sexual practices, and the ecstatic links between them. References to great artists from Rembrandt to Mondrian, and to various cultural forms of memento mori, were also persistent themes that would recur throughout Serrano's oeuvre. Subsequently, Serrano decided to use blood not just as content, but as form, resulting in images that were more reductive and abstract than his earlier works. Along with blood, the artist began using urine, milk, and later semen, as the raw materials for his work, producing two overlapping series - 'Body Fluids' and 'Immersions' from 1985-90 - which were to prove far more provocative than he ever intended.(http://www.eyestorm.com/artist/Andres_Serrano_biography.aspx) Andres Serrano became subject to notoriety in 1988 as a result of a cultural and political scandal when his work “Piss Christ” of 1987 caused a heated debate in the USA about the freedom of art and its state financing. Andres Serrano (American b. 1950) Piss Christ 1987 The large color photograph depicting a small plastic crucifix submerged in the artist's urine. Serrano's Piss Christ raised the ire of numerous religious and secular groups, including the American Family Association, and brought condemnation from U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. It also heated up the debate over whether the federal government should fund such artwork. Serrano had received in 1988 a $15,000 grant from Awards in the Visual Arts, partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The artist has always been frank about his use of religious subject matter, which he says is based on "unresolved feelings about my own Catholic upbringing, which help me redefine and personalize my relationship with God. For me, art is a moral and spiritual obligation that cuts across all manner of pretence and speaks directly to the soul. Nikki S. Lee After observing particular subcultures and ethnic groups, Nikki S. Lee adopts their general style and attitude through dress, gesture, and posture, and then approaches the group in her new guise. She introduces herself as an artist (though not everyone believes her or takes it seriously), and then spends several weeks participating in the group’s routine activities and social events while a friend or member of the group photographs her with an ordinary automatic “snapshot” camera. Lee maintains control of the final image, however, insofar as she chooses when to ask for a picture and edits what photographs will eventually be displayed. From schoolgirl to senior citizen, punk to yuppie, rural white American to urban Hispanic, Lee’s personas traverse age, lifestyle, and culture. Part sociologist and part performance artist, Lee infiltrates these groups so convincingly that in individual photographs it is difficult to distinguish her from the crowd. However, when photographs from the projects are grouped together, it is Lee’s own Korean ethnicity, drawn like a thread through each scenario, which reveals her subtle ruse. Lee’s success with these projects depends heavily on the appearance of the final photographic record. Her use of the snapshot aesthetic is partly what convinces us that she belongs—along with her uncanny ability to strike the right pose. The electronic date stamp in the corner confers scientific specificity and authenticity, while at the same time marking the picture as candid and familiar, the work of an unassuming amateur. Indeed, sometimes they are exhibited as drug-store prints push-pinned to the wall. Exhibited as enlarged, framed works of art in a museum context, however, the photographs reveal the conceptual foundation of Lee’s projects. As a group or just mixed together, the projects support and define one another. Lee’s projects propose questions regarding identity and social behavior. Do we choose our social groups consciously? How are we identified by other people? Is it possible for us to move between cultures? Lee believes that “essentially life itself is a performance. When we change our clothes to alter our appearance, the real act is the transformation of our way of expression—the outward expression of our psyche.” Nikki S. Lee (Korean/American, b. 1970) The Hip Hop Project (1), 2001 Fujiflex print 21 1/2 x 28 1/4 or 30 x 40 inches Born Lee Seung-Hee in Korea in 1970, Nikki S. Lee chose her American name when she came to New York in 1994. (The friend she asked to compile a list of American names used those appearing in that month’s Vogue, thus Nikki S. Lee inadvertently named herself after another much-photographed and image-changing woman, model Niki Taylor.) As a child growing up in the small South Korean village of Kye-Chang, Lee was exposed to a variety of foreign cultures through the mediating vehicles of television, popular periodicals, and music. In spite of her isolation, she developed a certain empathy for other cultures, an ability to empathize with other people that is clearly integral to her projects now. Her work is also unmistakably informed by Asian notions of identity, where identity is not a static set of traits belonging to an individual, but something constantly changing and defined through relationships with other people. Though she dismissed acting as a career when she decided she was not pretty enough to be an actress in Korea, Lee was nonetheless interested in film, and in looking for an side door into film she found photography. After graduating from the University of Korea, Lee moved to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She worked as a fashion photographer’s assistant, and went on to earn her master’s degree from New York University in 1999. Lee’s projects include: The Punk Project (1997), The Lesbian Project (1997), Young Japanese (East Village) Project (1997), The Tourist Project (1997), The Hispanic Project (1998), The Yuppie Project (1998), The Ohio Project (1999), The Swingers Project (1999), The Seniors Project (1999), The Exotic Dancers Project (2000), The Schoolgirls Project (2000), The Skateboarders Project (2000), The Hip Hop Project (2001), and Part (2003). Lee’s photographs are exhibited widely and held in many collections, including those of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the International Center for Photography, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and The Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Fukuoka, Japan. — Kendra Greene Lee, Nikki S. Projects/Nikki S. Lee. New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 2001. ( http://www.mocp.org/collections/permanent/lee_nikki_s.php) Nikki S. Lee (Korean/American, b. 1970) The Skateboarders Project (29), 2000 Fujiflex print 21 1/2 x 28 1/4 or 30 x 40 inches Nikki S. Lee (Korean/American, b. 1970) The Exotic Dancers Project (34), 2000 Fujiflex print 28 1/4 x 21 1/2 or 40 x 30 inches Nikki S. Lee (Korean/American, b. 1970) The Schoolgirls Project (22), 2000 Fujiflex print 21 1/2 x 28 1/4 or 30 x 40 inches Nikki S. Lee (Korean/American, b. 1970) The Ohio Project (8), 1999 Fujiflex print 28 1/4 x 21 1/2 or 40 x 30 inches Nikki S. Lee (Korean/American, b. 1970) The Seniors Project (15), 1999 Fujiflex print 21 1/2 x 28 1/4 x 48 or 30 x 40 inches Nikki S. Lee (Korean/American, b. 1970) The Hispanic Project (25), 1998 Fujiflex print 21 1/2 x 28 1/4 or 30 x 40 inches Nikki S. Lee (Korean/American, b. 1970) The Tourist Project (13), 1997 Fujiflex print 28 1/4 x 21 1/2 or 40 x 30 inches Nikki S. Lee (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Carrie Mae Weems Weems is an American artist who was born in Portland, Oregon in 1953. She received her BA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA, in 1981; her MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 1984; and an MA in Folklore from the University of California, Berkeley in 1987. In describing her work, Weems has said, "Let me say that my primary concern in art, as in politics, is with the status and place of Afro-Americans in our country." Weems produces art that addresses formal and political issues encircling African-American culture and focuses on the ways in which images shape our perception of color, gender and class. She explores existing genres of photography, particularly documentary imagery, and manipulates these conventions with complexity and wit. Whether focusing on personal or cultural history, on Africa or on traces of the Diaspora, Weems' interest in the narratives implied in photographs presses further through the use of cluster and sequence. Using narrative as a counterpoint to imagery, she recounts stories and myths and invents texts. Provocatively, she moves marginalized voices smack into the middle of contemporary discourse. Weems explains that, "The focus of my work is to describe simply and directly those aspects of American culture in need of deeper illumination." Storytelling is fundamentally an expression of the human condition, and the human condition has been a focus of Weems's art from her early documentary photographic series, Family Pictures and Stories (1978-1984). Carrie Mae Weems (American 1953 - ) Welcome Home (From the Family Pictures and Stories Series, 1978-84) Gelatin Silver Print 24 x 36 in. Text Reads: I went back home this summer. Hadn't seen my folks for awhile, but I'd been thinking about them, felt a need to say something about them, about us, about me and to record something about our family, our history. I was scared. Of What? I don't know, but on my first night back, I was welcomed with so much love from Van and Vera, that I thought to myself, "Girl, this is your family. Go on and get down." Through increasingly complex and layered works such as Ain't Jokin' (1987-1988), Colored People (1989-1990), and Kitchen Table (1990). In these series, Weems intertwined themes that are entwined in life-racial, sexual, and cultural identity and history-and presented them with overtones of humor and sadness, loss and redemption. Carrie Mae Weems (American 1953 - ) Mirror, Mirror (From the Ain't Jokin Series, 1987-88) Gelatin Silver Print 20x16 in. Text reads: LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR, THE BLACK WOMAN ASKED, "MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO'S TEH FINEST OF THEM ALL? THE MIRROR SASY, "SNOW WHITE YOU BLACK BITCH, AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT!!!" Carrie Mae Weems (American 1953 - ) Blue Black Boy Triptych (From the Colored People Series, 1989-1990) 3 monchrome color prints, 16x48 in. matted Carrie Mae Weems (American 1953 - ) Untitled (Woman brushing hair) From the Untitled (Kitchen Table Series), 1990 Gelatin Silver Print 27 1/4 x 27 1/4 In the 1990s Weems broadened both her geographical scope and the forms of her expression. She explored the African diaspora beginning with her Sea Islands series (1991-1992). Carrie Mae Weems (American 1953 - ) Untitled (The House), 1992 From the Untitled (Sea Island Series), 1991-92 Polytych, three silver prints and one text panel, 20x20 in. each Text panel reads: "When you move into a new house, remove old spirits by washing around the windows and doors with viengar water. But, prevent spirits from crossing the doorstep by putting salt and pepper along the door and window sills. Trimming the windows in blue will ward off hags, witches and other evil spirits. Wall paper your home with newspaper. before a hag can bother you, it must read every word. And if it can't read, then they're you go. But newspaper strung between an antenna will do the job too. Place rice in the four corners of your home for good luck and put a glass of water in a corner to absorb evil spirits. A kitchen knife stuck into the wood over the door will keep witches out of the house when the family is away. If you swept dust out of the house at sunset you just might sweep away the spirit of a family member. Never build an addition to your house. A home can never be extended. She visited Africa, and out of this visit came several series from 1993: Africa, Slave Coast, and Landed in Africa. Ritual & Revolution done in 1998 is a further stage in Weems's drive to make her expression both truer to her own experience of the world and meaningful to a wider audience. Carrie Mae Weems Installation View: Ritual & Revolution The exhibition addresses issues of struggle as defined by historical time and place, and aims to bridge cultural barriers through a multifaceted exploration of what it means to be human, to survive in our beautiful, difficult world. This piece is an installation which creates a light-filled, mazelike environment of photographically printed muslin panels that gently move. Digital technology has enabled her to enlarge her photographs to a scale that allows the visitor to enter physically into the artistic experience she creates. There is a sound element as well: the artist reciting her ode to history, memory, and resistance. The fabric images are digitally reproduced photographs of ancient architecture, sacred sculpture, and nature-from the columns of a Greek temple, to Aztec ruins, to a street in Mali, to a Japanese rock garden-surrounding and embracing the image of a goddesslike figure. The visual elements are given a temporal dimension by Weems's voice, speaking her historical lament, which is also a praise-poem to human endurance and courage. Weems voice can be heard in the Spoken Word audio clip (located at the bottom right of the navigation bar) by clicking HERE (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Lorna Simpson Excerpt from: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (http://www.mcachicago.org/MCA/Education/Teachers/Book/Simpson-txt.html) Lorna Simpson was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1960. When Simpson was a child, her parents often took her to museums and to the theater. She loved to look at paintings, and she remembers how exciting it was to see characters come to life on stage. Simpson loved to read, and because she was raised during the civil rights movement she was particularly interested in reading books by African-American authors about their struggle for equality. This early interest in human rights has become the central theme in her artwork today. After high school, Simpson went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a Master of Fine Arts degree in visual arts from the University of California in San Diego. Simpson began her career as a documentary photographer recording images from her environment in a clear and objective manner. Eventually she began to question the truth these supposedly objective photographs revealed and shifted to conceptual photography, which focuses on the concept, or idea, rather than the end product. By combining text and visual material, Simpson’s photographs raise questions regarding our assumptions about race and gender; they examine the ways in which we classify people through visual clues. Her images are candid, yet disconcerting, as her subjects often have their backs to the viewer, setting up a tension between viewer and subject. Accompanying text augments this tension by boldly confronting the viewer with stereotypes and political issues. Simpson questions our use of language as it is related to subjects, and the subtleties hidden in the language we use. Much of Lorna's work is based on the black body (usually the female body) as a witness of oppression, domination, enslavement and confinement of the black community. She often photographs the backs of the figures who are dressed to minimalize individual identity. Coiled and braided hair, African masks, shoes and shoe boxes, are symbols that she repeatedly uses in her work. The artist explained it in the following way: I started to concentrate more upon how the viewer looks at photographic images. I took elements from my own documentary work and abstracted particular qualities, putting them into very stark environments—meaning, perhaps, the way a person stands or a particular gesture—but leaving the photographic subject blank or not permitting the photographic subject’s face to appear. That way, all the information or clues that point to a particular individual were eliminated from the image. From there, I would insert my own text or my own specific reading of the image to give the viewer something they might not interpret or surmise, due to their ‘educated’ way of looking at images, and reading them for their emotional, psychological, and/or sociological values. Lorna Simpson (American 1960 - ) She, 1992 Color Polaroids and engraved Plexiglas plaque. 29 x 85 1/4 x 2 in. (73.6 x 216.5 x 5.1 cm.) Wearing a brown suit and a white, buttoned shirt, the subject of Simpson’s photos sits facing forward in a chair as if at an interview. The sequential format of the work, in which a series of four photographs captures a slight shift in her position each time, implies that the figure has been caught self-consciously in freeze-frame. Simpson cropped the image so that we can only see between the lips and the knees of the figure. Simpson has said that black women in the U.S. are treated by society as if they’re faceless, without identity or individuality. By not showing the faces of her models, Simpson reminds us of this treatment. Her figures become universal, and the camera lens can focus on other aspects of the body, such as clothing and posture. The typically masculine clothing and the relaxed, somewhat masculine pose of the figure in She belie the title “female” in lowercase italic script above like a scientific label. Simpson often uses the discrepancy between text and image to emphasize stereotypical conclusions many people draw, especially about women’s “place” in society. Can “she” wear a suit and still be a woman? Lorna Simpson (American 1960 - ) 1978-1988 1990 4 gelatin silver prints, 13 plastic plaques 49x68 in. Edition of 4 Lorna Simpson (American 1960 - ) Screen 1 1986 1 wooden screen, gelatin silver prints mounted on panels 73 1/2 x 60 x 22 in. Text reads: Marie said she was from Montral although she was from Haiti. Lorna Simpson (American 1960 - ) Warerbearer 1986 Gelatin silver prints and plastic letters 41 3/4 X 79 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. Text reads: "SHE SAW HIM BY THE RIVER THEY ASKED HER TO TELL WHAT HAPPENED ONLY TO DISCOUNT HER MEMORY" In this photo a black woman in a white dress is holding a silver jog in her left hand and a plastic milk jug in her other but elevated higher. "She saw him disappear by the river. They asked her to tell what happened. Only to discount her memory." The viewer may then draw ideas of racism and equality from it, which is eactly what the artist wants us to do. She does not want our minds to be limited to a certain idea. She gives the main topic and leaves you to come up with all the sub topics you want. Lorna Simpson (American 1960 - ) Flipside 1991 2 gelatin silver prints, 1 plastic plaque 51 1/2 x 70 in (overall) edition of 3 Text reads: "the neighbors were suspicious of her hairstyle" Lorna Simpson (American 1960 - ) Counting 1991 Photogravure with silkscreen 73 x 38 in. unframed edition of 60 Text reads: 9am1pm 2am-6pm 11pm-4am 8pm-10pm 9am-11am 310 years ago 1575 bricks 25 twists 70 braids 50 locks In Counting the figure is anonymous and wears a white shift, Simpson's preferred costume for her models. She likes the simplicity; she believes it indicates what she terms "femaleness," without bringing up issues of fashion. ; and she also likes the fact that there are many possible interpretations for such an outfit. The times to the right of the figure might indicate work shifts, but the schedules are unrealistic if considered closely. Other possibilities for what they might mean are open to viewer interpretation. The central image shows a smoke house in South Carolina that was also used as a slave hut. This adds a reference to the previous status of African-American women in this country, where slavery was first acknowledged 310 years ago (as indicated by the number in the box to the left). It can be inferred that perhaps the number of bricks listed is the number oif bricks used in the construction of the building. Simpson first began putting hair in her work around 1990, and it can be lead to many different interpretations. The only clue she provides to viewers is an accounting of the number of twists, braids, and locks. It has been said that the hair represents the age of an old woman, presumably one who has seen and experienced much in her lifetime. Lorna Simpson (American 1960 - ) Practical Joke 1992 2 dye diffusion (Polaroid) prints 26 x 43 in. Edition of 3 Dinh Q. Le Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, b. 1968) Alter Piece #1, 2001 C-print and linen tape Dinh Q. Lê was born in Vietnam in 1968 and emigrated with his family to the United States at the age of ten. Not yet fluent in English, he spent time alone in his junior high school library looking through art books, introducing himself to Western art history. "This is when I became really fascinated with Renaissance painting," Lê says. In college, Lê began studying photography. He experimented with different ways of combining images, exploring his place in Western culture. As a child in Vietnam he had watched his aunt weave traditional grass mats. He began using her methods to interweave cut strips of photographs of himself and images from Western art history, creating photo-weavings resembling mosaics. (The Headless Buddha: New Works by Dinh Q. Lê http://arts.ucsc.edu/sesnon/exhibitions/buddha/) The works are glossy tapestries made entirely out of C-prints that reveal images layered in a repetition of patterning. Finished on the edges with linen tape, his craftsmanship is precise, intentional and immaculate. ( http://www.artamplitude.net/laos/quiet-in-theland/dinh_q_le.htm) Visiting Vietnam, he regained an interest in Eastern iconography which then found its way into his work. "By interweaving self-portraits and historical and mythological images from both cultures, I dissect existing histories to create new mythologies." ( The Headless Buddha: New Works by Dinh Q. Lê http://arts.ucsc.edu/sesnon/exhibitions/buddha/) Lê's works blend photographs shot by the artist with images found in old master paintings, thrift store portraits, mug shots, and Hollywood films. These unique montages address issues of identity, history, war, conflict, and mythology drawn from the complex interactions of his two homelands?Vietnam and the United States. Lê is creating a new work entitled "Homecoming" that focuses on the journey driven by economic necessity and Buddhist spirituality that has guided Vietnam away from the painful past of the Vietnam War. ( Vietnam to Hollywood Essay by Chris Miles.~Interview by Mara Roth http://www.elizabethleach.com/News.cfm?NewsID=16) Current and historical, as well as, personal and fictional realities which resonate in these potent works. have a fluidity akin to painting. With an interest in the ongoing effects of the Vietnam war on past and present societies, Le is addressing compelling subject matter from a rare sociopolitical perspective. He continues to document subjects in his native country such as birth defects caused by the U.S. military’s use of Agent Orange. Le has also worked with Cambodian refugee children, and often draws from personal experience of life in Vietnam during and after the war. ( http://www.artamplitude.net/laos/quiet-in-the-land/dinh_q_le.htm) Dinh Q Lê received his BA in 1989 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his MFA, Photography and Related Media, from The School of Visual Arts, New York in 1992. Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, b. 1968 Untitled (Tom Cruise & Willam Dafoe,Born on the 4th of July/Highway 1) 2000 Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, 1968) Untitled (Russian roulette, Deerhunter/P.O.W.), 2000 Photograph c-print and linen tape 20" x 30 each" Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, b. 1968 Untitled (Robert De Niro, The Deerhunter/bombing victim), 2000 Photograph cprint & linen tape 40" x 60" image size is 40" x 60" Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, b. 1968) Persistence of Memory #10 2000-2001 C-print on linen tape SIZE: h: 45 x w: 63 in / h: 114.3 x w: 160 cm Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, b. 1968) Persistence of Memory #14 2000-2001 h: 45 x w: 63 in / h: 114.3 x w: 160 cm WEAVING THROUGH HISTORY: Allan deSouza interviews Dinh Q. Lê (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Binh Danh Installation View Binh Danh was born in Vietnam in 1977 before his family immigrated to the United States that same year. Danh received his BFA in Photography from San Jose State University and graduated from Stanford University's prestigious M.F.A. program in 2004. His work addresses and reflects his Vietnamese heritage and interest in natural science and history. Danh has invented a technique for printing found photographs (digitally rendered into negatives) onto the surface of leaves by exploiting the natural process of photosynthesis. The leaves, still living, are pressed between glass plates with the negative and exposed to sunlight from a week to several months. Coined "chlorophyll prints" by the artist, the fragile works are encapsulated and made permanent through casting them in solid blocks of resin. By conjoining his process into his conceptual ideas so completely, Danh is also able to reference the history and technical developments of photography. He says of his work, "Throughout my education, I have always been very attracted to Art, History, and Science. The histories I search for are the hidden stories embedded in the landscape around me. The processes used in my work represent my interest in the sciences and photographic techniques." ( http://www.hainesgallery.com/Main_Pages/Artist_Pages/BDAN.bio.html) "One summer, I was motivated to experiment with photosynthesis and its pigments after watching the lawn change color due to a water hose that was placed on it. Soon after that observation, I was making chlorophyll prints. Photosynthesis takes place in plants as carbon dioxide, water, and light energy is converted to sugars and oxygen. Photosynthesis is the main route by which free energy in the environment is made available to the living world. In my work, photosynthesis is used to record images onto leaves. The leaves are then cast in resin, like biological samples for scientific studies. The images were first digitized and transferred to transparencies, then exposed onto tropical leaves. The image formation was all due to chlorophyll, light, carbon dioxide, and water: the life source of plants and, consequently the Earth." --Binh Danh ( http://www.svam.org/Exhibits/Remembrance/Artists/Main_dir/BD_main.html) Danh was born in Vietnam on October 9, 1977, he was too young to remember the war, and as a child it was not possible to fully comprehend the significance of what was unfolding around him. Just as with the process of photosynthesis where a leaf absorbs ambient energy, the human spirit too is marked by historical events... In Danh's work this intuitive experience of history and memory materializes in the veins of the leaves. Moreover, because the imagery is produced through the process of photosynthesis, the imagery itself - which stands in for individual episodes of history and memory - are inscribed, not just on the surface, but within the very tissue of the leaf. The fragments of a historical moment are woven into the organic celluloid. As with all the work in Collapsing Histories there is something of a paradox in Danh's work. All the work in this exhibition at once calls attention to the fact that personal memory and even history itself is fragile, and even though the work in the show demonstrates how history decays, the works at the same time resist the inevitable decomposition of history and memory. The subtly of Danh's imagery - its near translucency - gives material form to our tenuous grip on history and memory. The leaves themselves are subject analogously to the laws of human history and memory. A leaf, for example, while attached to a tree thrives, absorbing the radiant energy of the sun, and reaching the end of its life cycle yellows and eventually falls to the ground. On the ground the leaf decomposes and while it does not continue to collect radiant energy, it might still nourish the soil and in turn the tree. People are like leaves. They too, analogous to photosynthesis, participate in the kinetics of historical events and the process of creating memories is an absorption of that dynamic history; and finally like leaves, people whither and eventually die. The residue of their existence, fragments of their collected memories eventually nourish the history and the memories of the living. The very medium, the very flesh, of Danh's work then showcases the characteristics of human memory and history. Danh's work offers some resistance to the nature of history and memory by presenting his leaves in 'suspended animation'; his work fossilizes this delicate hold on historical memory. His work does not fossilize memory at its strongest or most acute, rather it captures memories as they begin to fade. These are not memories of an earlier generation, these are related memories, not directly lived, but potent nonetheless. These images, these fragments of memories, are infused into the tissue of the living. Like some pre-historic insect forever suspended in a piece of amber, Danh's leaves are encased in resin; and as fossilized records they do not show us memories as they are, but memories in suspension. ( http://online.sfsu.edu/~amkerner/ch/binh.htm) Binh Danh (Vietnamese b. 1977) The Leaf Effect: Found Portraits from the Cambodian Killing Fields at Tuol Sleng, 2004 Chlorophyll print and resin 26.5 x 16.5 inches framed Binh Danh (Vietnamese b. 1977) Found Portraits Collection: from the Cambodian Killing Fields at Tuol Sleng, 2003 Chlorophyll print and resin 18.25 x 53 inches framed Binh Danh (Vietnamese b. 1977) Untitled: Caught in Action, 2003 Chlorophyll print and resin 7.5 x 13.5 inches Binh Danh (Vietnamese b. 1977) Untitled no. 19, 2003 Chlorophyll print and resin 11 x 9 inches framed Binh Danh (Vietnamese b. 1977) Drifting Souls, 2001 Chlorophyll print, cast in resin 12 x 18 in. Binh Danh (Vietnamese b. 1977) Mother and Child, 2001 Chlorophyll print, cast in resin 30 x 14-1/2 in. Binh Danh's Chlorophyll Art (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. KQED: Binh Danh (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Shirin Neshat Shirin Neshat was born in Qazvin, Iran in 1957. She came to the US after high school to study art and was exiled for 11 years later by the Islamic Revolution. She was unable to go back until 1990. When she went back to her native country she didn’t recognize it. It no longer resembled the place she called home. She was deeply affected by her homeland’s radical transformation, and she set out to explore Islam through her art. Shirin Neshat uses the specifics of her background culture to create works that communicate universal ideas about loss, meaning, and memory. Her work often deals with the women’s plight in Iran showing constant negotiation between east and West, between tradition and present-day pressures, between women and men. The following is an excerpt from Shirin Neshat (http://fargo.itp.tsoa.nyu.edu/~lhc211/Fall01Site/sneshat/shrinneshat.html) In Neshat’s own words: “During the Shah’s regime, we had a very open, free environment. There was a kind of dilution between West and East – the way we looked and the way we lived. When I went back everything seemed changed. There seemed to be very little color. Everyone was black or white. All the women wearing the black chadors. It was immediately shocking. Street names had changed from old Persian names to Arabic and Muslim names…this whole shift of the Persian identity toward a more Islamic one created a kind of crisis. I think to this day there’s a great sense of grief that goes with that.” Shirin Neshat utilizes her impressions of both Iran and Islam as topics of inspiration and exploration. Her early works were primarily oversized black and white photographs of covered women (usually herself) and close ups of various body parts (hands, feet, faces) with lines and lines of calligraphy written on top of the images. These images are close and personal encounters with Islam, women and Iran. Women of Allah 1993 - 1997 In this photographic series of militiant muslim women, Neshat corrodes the stereotype about Muslim women as submissive victims. That she manages to do this without violating the bodily codes of an "Islamic woman" is testimony to her creative genius. They don't necessarily tell a story but they evoke emotions and questions. Neshat's women have always been presented with strength. Her work depicts both feminism and fundamentalism. Neshat's reply when asked why women are holding guns in these photos: "It's addressing the topic of the Revolution and the fact that we cannot separate ideas of religion and spirituality from politics and violence. It very much deals with that idea of martyrdom, which can be identified as terrorism. I'm trying to present this paradox where a typical martyr stands on the border of love of God and devotion and faith on one hand and crime and cruelty and violence on the other. They're willing to commit a crime because they love God. That is such a strange ideology and that can only be understood from the Islamic perspective if you look at their history. The obsession with death and a rejection of the material world. You live your whole life to promote Islam and when you die you get rewarded. So you're congratulated for your death, which is a very bizarre mentality." Women of Allah (1993-97) Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Rebellious Silence 1994 b/w gelatin silver print with ink Photo: Cynthia Preston Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Speechless 1996, B/W RC print and ink Photo: Larry Barns Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Untitled 1996 b/w RC print and ink photo: Larry Burns In 1996 Neshat began working with film to create more poetic, open ended works. The subject matter continues to be about Muslim. She utilizes music and sounds but almost without any words -- an approach that is, in her own words, "simple, concise, poetic, minimalist and powerful as it criticizes society without claiming to do so." Film Gallery She created a trilogy of dual screen video installations: turbulent, rapture, fervor. All explore the male - female dynamic in Islamic societies. The trilogy consists of two large, opposing projections that depict men and women separated from each other. While polarized both visually and spatially, both are kept locked in a dynamic though subtle interaction that powerfully underscores gender-based inequalities. Turbulent (1998) Turbulent was inspired by the fact that Iran forbids women from performing or recording music. The male screen shows a male singer singing a traditional Sufi song for a group of men. On the opposite female screen, a woman clad in the Islamic black chador stands on a stage, facing the empty seats of another auditorium, waiting, listening. When the man finishes, the woman begins to sing a personal vocalization. Here the woman breaks all the rules by singing when she is forbidden to sing. Secondly, she appears in a theater where she's not supposed to be. And thirdly, her music is improvised - not tied to language or the norms of classical Iranian music. Turbulent cleverly demonstrates how women in this segregated society become incredibly rebellious and unpredictable where men end up staying within the conformed way of living. Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Turbulent,1998 Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Turbulent, 1998 Rapture (1999) Rapture explores sexual politics. On the male screen a group of men in a fortress perform seemingly absurd, repetitive rituals. On the opposite screen a group of women roam a desert landscape until they reach a beach below the fortress and push a boat out to sea. "They do a very brave thing," says Neshat. "Whether that's an act of committing suicide or freeing themselves it's not very clear but it's an action, it's doing something about their destiny." Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Untitled (Rapture), 1999, Bromide print, 20 x 24" Collection of Stéphane Janssen, Scottsdale, AZ. Photo: Jacob Melchi. Still from Rapture, 1999, 13-minute b/w 16mm film transfered to video disk Collection of the Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, CA. Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Untitled (Rapture) Boat in water 1999 Gelatin silver print Original photograph from an edition of 5 and 2 AP h: 113.3 x w: 175.2 cm / h: 44.6 x w: 69 in Fervor (2000) Fervor is pure erotica, though perhaps not the conventional kind. The female lead wears a formless black chador, with only her face exposed. She does not even meet the man's gaze. And for most of the 10-minute video the two are separated by a thick black screen. The sexual charge is tempered by an unsettling sense of sadness and yearning, of repression and isolation. Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Fervor (Couple at Intersection), 1999 gelatin silver print, triptych, 50 x 63" each, edition 4/5 Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Fervor (Crowd from front, Couple looking at each other) 2000 Gelatin Silver Print h: 119 x w: 152.4 cm / h: 46.9 x w: 60 in Edition: 3/5 Continuing to use the culture of her native Iran as inspiration, her recent films attempt to reconstruct a more universal approach to notions of identity, society, refuge, and utopia. The imagery that dominated Neshat’s earlier work has given way to a more cinematic approach: eschewing the visual tropes of veil-covered women and whiteshirted men, her new films forego neatly-parsed representations in favor of a stronger narrative course and more nuanced characterizations. Using the novel Women Without Men by Shahrnush Parsipur as a starting point, Neshat has adapted short films based on the five intertwined female characters. Elaborating upon the themes she has explored in both film and photography, her interpretation of the stories’ magic realism blends strong visuals with the plot to create films that straddle both cinema and art. Still employing specifically articulated spaces and multi-channel screenings, Neshat’s installation insists upon a visceral and emotional interaction between viewer and the plights of the characters she depicts. Zarin , 2005, is the story of a young woman who has been working as a prostitute since childhood. The film traces her slow disintegration into psychic delirium. Wracked by both guilt for her actions and a strong desire for salvation, her madness manifests itself in her perception of the world around her. Chronicling the course of her breakdown with imagery that is both graphic and beautiful, Neshat evokes the torment of one so tortured by her subjugated role in society that she feels completely powerless. As the men Zarin encounters appear without faces, horror, shame, and guilt overwhelm her. Viewing this as her punishment from God, she flees the brothel for a bathhouse. Scrubbing her skin raw and bloody, she attempts to make amends with her past; however, she descends deeper in madness as she strives for redemption. Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Soraya (Zarin Series), 2005 C-print 60 x 47 1/2" Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Mohsen Agha (Zarin Series), 2005 C-print 60 x 47 1/2" Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Untitled (Zarin Series), 2005 C-print 59 x 74" Shirin Neshat (Iranian, born 1957) Zarin (Zarin Series), 2005 C-print 55 x 47 1/2" Shirin Neshat was born in Qazvin, Iran, but moved to the United States in 1974. She currently lives and works in New York. Time Europe: Shirin Neshat (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Ken Gonzales-Day Ken Gonzales-Day Erased Lynching (1884) 2004 lightjet print 5.5 x 3.5 in. Ken Gonzales-Day Run Up, 2003 LightJet Printt The centerpiece of Ken Gonzales-Day’s exhibition, a large black-and-white photomural of a lynching, depicts a crowd of men in Depression-era suits and hats around a bare tree. But the object of their attention is missing: The artist has digitally removed the victim from the picture. Small, vintage-looking images, grouped together on an adjacent wall, show similar clusters of people around empty trees or poles; among them are several that portray the same crowd—or parts of it—as the photomural. In the postcardsized Tucson, a group of steely-eyed men form a V at the base of a telegraph pole and stare directly at the viewer, though whether their gaze is conspiratorial or confrontational is hard to gauge.The titles of two large color photographs of trees—Golden Chain, bathed in a late afternoon glow, and At Daylight the Miserable Man Was Carried to an Oak, its subject carpeted by moss—suggest that bodies might have once dangled from their branches. Gonzales-Day’s work centers on lynching in the American West, particularly California, where more Latinos, Indians, Chinese and even whites were murdered than blacks. But by erasing the bodies of the lynched victims, inflating the crowd in the mural with a composite of several photos and giving images titles to which they may not be connected (Tucson, for example, actually depicts the town of Tombstone, Arizona), the artist renders his “evidence” unreliable and challenges conventional ideas about history, photography and representation itself. Instead of shock, sympathy or identification, we feel a vague unease, without emotional or intellectual resolution. — Joseph R. Wolin ( http://www.timeoutny.com/newyork/Details.do?page=1&xyurl=xyl://TONYWebArticles1 /576/art/ken_gonzales_day.xml) In the process of researching a book called ''Lynching in the West: 1850-1935,'' the Los Angeles artist Ken Gonzales-Day assembled an archive and made a discovery: in the more than 350 California lynchings he found records for, most of the victims were Latinos. His photographic show at Cue Art Foundation is an interpretive response to that. Some of the photographs are his own, taken of still-standing trees where lynchings took place. Most of the other pictures are reproductions of historical images, found in newspapers and on souvenir postcards, of actual lynchings. In each of these pictures, though, the artist has erased the body of the victim, leaving everything else intact. The tree or telegraph post used for the hanging is there; so is the crowd of witnesses and executioners, posing for the camera or staring up at what is now empty space. As the artist Kerry James Marshall demonstrated in paintings using lynching photographs and a comparable mode of selective erasure, the effect is very different from looking at the horrific unaltered pictures, where the victims continue to be exposed and shamed as objects of casual spectatorship, exactly as their killers intended. Mr. Gonzales-Day's work throws the emphasis on the spectators themselves and makes hard lines between then and now, them and us, difficult to draw. HOLLAND COTTER ( http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F00E4DF1E31F931A1575AC0A9609 C8B63) Ken Gonzales-Day Website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

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The themes discussed by the article “Reframing America” include poverty, injustice,
intolerance, and culture. At the same time, there is mass consumption of consumer goods and love
of nation to an automobile. Module 9 involves of artist Alexander Allan who was born in Russia
in 1902 and was interested with photography. He made his camp out of cardboard when he was at
the age of twelve. Allan believed that being in America involves the desire of happiness,
prosperity, and liberty. A country should not consider the racial or national background might be.
What makes people different should be respected and celebrated. Justice is provoked when
immigrants face conflicts between their desire to keep and remember the languages are s...

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