Discussion board post








Assignment Instructions:

Step 1: Read the assigned readings and watch the assigned video for this week.

Step 2: In approximately 400 words, respond to the following questions:

— To you, what is it about a photograph that makes it especially meaningful or memorable? Why?

— How are “activist pictures” that change the way people think about a topic or event different from other images?

— Are photos that both shock and move us to a moral response and generate an aesthetic response the most effective or memorable images of all? Why or why not?

In your essay, you should choose a specific photograph that you learned about this week and discuss it. You should also reference the ideas discussed in reading no. 5 “A Photograph Never Stands Alone” by Teju Cole.

Step 3: Read and respond to at least 2 of your peers in a thoughtful manner (100-200 words per response).

Other people posts:

1.Personally, I feel a photograph has meaning to it if it symbolizes something important. Photographs are a form of art and so whatever image is captured and immortalized should serve as a symbol of something greater. For example, the photograph “The Cotton Pickers” has significant meaning to it because it symbolizes the hardships, struggles and work ethic of slaves. Additionally, the time at which this photograph was taken, (the late 1960’s), would come as a surprise to many, including myself, as the setting, particular detail and contrast serve as the epitome of the image of slavery that was a reality nearly a century earlier. “Activist pictures” that change the way people think about a certain topic or event differ from other images because they tend to be an integral part of a greater story, without which the story cannot be completed. Teju Cole quotes in his article art critic John Berger “that when we look at a star-filled night sky, we are able to tell stories about it only by organizing the stars into constellations”. “The Cotton Pickers” is a phenomenal photograph because it is like a star but in a clear night, it only truly shines when we can connect it with other stars in the clear sky. I strongly believe that photos that both shock and move us to a moral response and generate an aesthetic response are the most effective or memorable images of all. I invite everyone to first look at a picture of an ordinary desk at the tech center and then look at a picture of Niagara Falls in the night. Which photograph are you most likely to remember? I would assume the photograph of Niagara Falls at night because it captures the epitome of nature’s beauty and so is a very aesthetically appealing image as opposed to an image of an ordinary desk many of us see everyday. Additionally, a photograph such as “The Cotton Pickers” evokes a kind of moral obligation in many of us to remember the hardships and unfair treatment certain groups of people went through and to never repeat such mistakes again. This evocation of your moral conscience is what renders the image as powerful, effective and memorable. This is why I strongly believe that photos that both shock and move us to a moral response and generate an aesthetic response are the most effective or memorable images of all.

2.When I looking into those picture I feel a strong of sympathy. I think the most meaningful and memorable about a photograph is how talented when they turn a moment become forever. For a instance, When I look through Golden Parks’s work the black mother’s eyes have the same care for children like every else did, but they suffer from a really different life,and the picture a women carry her children in front of the show window give me a sympathy feeling every time I look those picture. Those moment we can’t come across and even though we saw it but can’t have time to appreciate the beauty and emotion that the moment give to us. The photographer are able to capture those moment and keep those moment forever.

The activist picture are doing great to capture people’s eyes. Using the stand out contrast to make people realize the problem that they always neglect. In the Danny Lyon’s photograph “The Cotton Pickers”, the white and black have sharp contrast make this picture so unforgettable. In this sharp contrast also showing the race problem behind it. And also some of cruel photos reveal some cruel reality. Because mother of the Emmett Till showing brutality dead face picture of his son. Start to making people aware and no longer ignore the brutality discriminate issue. The picture can speak the feeling and truth by itself. It’s the best way to make people realize the problem. Most importantly the picture arouse the sympathy of people. In the other image they only focus on beauty or story of a image. The activist pictures are the picture have strong feeling and truth behind it.

The images can speak the truth and rouse the sympathy feeling. The picture capture the precious moment. The work of Golden Park make me deep realize the people is the same. We have same feeling, it’s the same thing when we go to theater or when the daughter study in the floor and parents watching. The picture a women holding a child is the same as my mother holding on me. So we all are the human, and why we are treating so differently?The dead body of Emmett Till start let me realize how the problem serious are. All those thing leading people to move to a moral response and generate an aesthetic response. The image have strong truth and feeling behind it.

3.I always believe that photographs are not my preferred form of media when viewing art, but when I put their significance into factors of social media and news broadcasting, it is the most common portrayal of expression and spectacle in my everyday life. The context in which photographs are present becomes crucial to my understanding; I’m more interested and influenced by something I see from an Instagram photographer than an expected series in a gallery. A lot of times when I consider photography, it doesn’t resonate with me as areas of art I enjoy and is misconstrued by the connotation of traditional photography. I think the images that are most memorable and impact to me are ones that are uncomfortable or feel out of place.

Maurice Berger described the power of activist photography as capturing everyday interaction and the having the capability to recount the right moment. These pictures can allow African Americans to be represented how they want to be seen and can display to viewers a lenses of how they want to be depicted. This highlights the similarities between races and can promote empathy by disarming the idea of differences. As discussed in Time Magazine, the impact photographs of Emmett Till’s death had in 50s educated viewers on the real horrors of segregation and the difficulty of neutrality, juxtaposing images of a 14 year old boy to a mutilated unreadable face. Contextually, we can relate horrific images of brutality today in situations of Philando Castile, who was a loved lunch monitor in his school district. Media portray plays an important role in dictating the perception of how victims are displayed. Gordan Parks discusses the power through sympathy and quilt that these images create from innocence and honesty.

Teju Cole gave an interesting insight to understanding the context of activist photography. A lot of images produced in the 1960s can parallel images in the 1800s, which shows viewers how progression can be made in some areas, but in others it still remains prominent and ongoing. Cole discusses the significance that images have to be circulated over masses and the power of connecting these relationships to educate or by familiarity. Cole explains that

Images make us think of other images. Photographs remind us of other photographs, and perhaps only the earliest photographs had a chance to evade this fate. But soon after the invention of photography, the world was full of photographs, and newly made photographs could not avoid semantic contamination. Each photograph came to seem like a quotation from the great archive of photographs. Even the earliest photographs are themselves now burdened by this reality, because when we look at them, we do so in the knowledge of everything that came after.

One image in particular was Danny Lyon’s photograph “The Cotton Pickers”. The sight of this picture can be easily categorized and recognized as a slavery era image, but it is a result of post abolishment. It was taken at a prison cotton field, showing black inmate laborers who mirror the image of slaves. The photo is extremely eerie with high contrast and difficult figures to recognize as human. The impact of a juxtaposition like this differentiates the belief that slavery was fully abolished and that there is racial equality. It rectifies that racism is coexisting.

4.For a bit I was following the path of becoming a photo major but instead I became a Fibers major. I decided to change for many reasons but one was because I was interested in photographing intense, real moments such as sports but I was learning about altering and changing photographs to please the viewer. That sometimes meant “lying” in the image. Whether these changes completely distorted the image or were taken posed, I was not particularly interested. I wanted to capture the raw moment of time without changing the scene or person. The detail and truth that a photograph brings to a viewer is what is important to me. Telling or understanding a story and being able to freeze through the photographic process is beautiful.

From the images talked about in the articles “activist photos” tend to be very powerful. In the article When One Mother Defied America: The Photo That Changed The Civil Rights Movement, the photograph of Emmett Till, published in Jet Magazine by David Jackson and the mother determination moved people to come together and “the public could no longer pretend to ignore what they couldn’t see.” Activist photographs want people to make a choice and act on what the image is trying to say. In A Photograph Never Stands Alone, Teju Cole describes his reaction to the photograph “The Cotton Pickers” by Danny Lyon. His love hate relationship with the photograph comes from the beauty of the composition and the witnessing of “forced labor, the plantation economy, cotton’s allure, black subjection, government control and the facelessness of the impoverished”. For many other photographs a love-hate relationship only comes from the composition standpoint while in activist photographs it comes from both the meaning and story of the subject and the composition.

Both the photograph “The Cotton Pickers” and the photograph mentioned by Teju, “Gold Miners, Serra Pelada, Pará, Brazil, 1986” are beautiful yet shocking. I believe that the most shocking and moving photographs that bring us to a moral response and generate an aesthetic response are the most effective and memorable images. The goal of many artists is to get the audience’s attention and hold it. This is where composition comes in. Both photographs were composed in black and white symmetry and repetition throughout the whole image. The first thing I had noticed was the blacked out faces hiding the identity of the worker, which was mentioned in the article. A comment I make on a daily basis when I see that a photograph is void of detail around the most recognizable parts of the body (any exposed skin) is that the audience can take the place of the person in the image. That person could be anyone and some feel a deeper connection to the subject because of that.

5.Generally, photography is a way to recording moment and events. Although events or that moment past go, a photograph would keep these events have eternal life. On the other way, a photograph can describe the truth of history. For example, men in Lyon’s photograph shows “No personality: men are interchangeable parts in a terrible mass labor theater.” This photo illustrates social phenomenon in that time; there are a massive number of people become labor to work.
“Activist pictures” could change people notes the social phenomenon in the world, and the government would realize the problem of their country. The citizen would find the detail to realize the race problem and social problem. I thought “Activist pictures” is a little subjective, the photographer catches this moment following what they image the feeling it should be in the photo. The photo “When One Mother Defied America: The Photo That Changed the Civil Rights Movement,” have a significant effect in that time. People in the world realized it exists unfair of a race between white people and black people. White people were having more power than black people, so while white people crime, the law in that time would show partiality for white people. In this photo, I found that how despair of that mom. She loses her 14-year-old son because the racial discrimination, she wants to get justice, but she could not have any power to against to them with people. She looks worst and feeling of powerlessness of this world. This photo makes the world sensation. People start to think about the unfair of race.
Photos that both shock and move us to a moral response and generate an aesthetic response the most effective or memorable image of all. Not only the death of Emmett Till response the pure shock, but the history of my country also makes a moral collapse for me. As we know, China faced the Nanjing Massacre in 1937, Chinese people encountered inhuman actives during that time. Japanese soldier using Chinese to test drug, and they violate female in that time. Citizen in Nanjing suffered at 1937. While I saw photos to describes that event, female hold their children, looks feeling full of despair in the world. I feel sad and angry about that event. People of another country, I had been asked, they thought it is unbelievable that was too inhuman. Those photos let Chinese have excitation to improve their power to protect their country and family. Therefore, I believe that photos have both shocks and move us to a moral response and generate an aesthetic response the most effective.

6.Photograph can be though as a direct way to reflect the life. In our lives, we always use photograph to record important moments like date, party or wedding because we cannot experience for the second time. It is memorable and meaning because it is an evidence to find what we loss and help us learn about what we do not know. The reason why I think so is that we cannot remember details about everything we ever seen and we also cannot image everything through pale dialogue. In addition, when a photograph is not only used to record life but is related to society, its meaning changes. It will become a medium that reflects the state of society and the real situation of expression. When I see the comparative photos ofEmmett Till, I understand what we loss is humanity and equality. Due to racism in American, the black cannot get respect and equality. The young teenager lost his life because he talked to the white man and whistle without evidence. “Activist Pictures” is a small fragment taken from a big event. But through this small fragment can reflect a lot of details, and then formed a complete story. Like Teju Cole said ‘when we see a sky full of stars, we can only tell the story by composing the stars into constellations. When we first time see “the Cotton pickers”, can we imagine this picture as a reflection of the low profile of forced labor, plantation economics, Cotton Seduction, black obedience, government control and poverty? Of course not, we can think of is that in the labor of the people and the piece of snow-white cotton. If you look closely at this picture, you can see that the people who work are carrying sacks, and most of the people who use sacks are those who migrate from the south to the north. Poverty, oppression and exertion can be regarded as synonymous with them. Moreover, because of racial discrimination in the United States, it is natural to think that these labors may be black and be forced by the white people to work. As I said before, when photographs are linked to society, the meaning of the photographs will be different. Emmett Till, a black man, was brutally murdered by white men, but the court convicted the perpetrators innocence. Comparing the photographs of when he was alive and when he was dead, he even could not be identified by his mother. Thousands of people were shocked when the photos were exposed to the public. They were shocked not only is that the perpetrators were not sentenced, but also the seriousness of racial discrimination. The photography gives the most intuitive visual impression, and when the content of the photography leaves a very impressive to the public, the public begins to think and then act。

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