Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Analysis Of Documentary Photos Revises History

Date:
December 16, 2007
Source:
Uppsala University
Summary:
By analyzing some lesser-known photographs, taken by world famous documentary photographers, art historian Cecelia Strandroth relates a new history of the Depression Era in the United States.

By analyzing some lesser known photographs, taken by world famous documentary photographers, art historian Cecelia Strandroth relates a new history of the Depression Era in the United States. She will publicly defend her dissertation at Uppsala University on December 14.

Can documentary photographs be regarded as credible depictions of events in the world or are they rather staged representations of a special perspective? Do documentary photos take part in the struggle against injustice or are they in fact instruments of those in power? These questions have been discussed intensively over the last few years and a particularly relevant in terms of the photographs that Cecilia Strandroth studies in her dissertation, taken during the 1930s by photographers employed by the Farm Security Administration, U.S. government authority.

The photographs are classics of the documentary genre. Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange's images of the suffering of destitute farmers in the American South have become part of the American national heritage. Today they are symbols of the Great Depression of the 1930s and are said to show the resilience of the American people. The country survived the Depression and went on to win World War II.

Cecilia Strandroth's dissertation brings to light another history of the FSA. By examining seldom studied photographs, she reveals a history of politics, marketing, and propaganda. The photographers were employed to advertise the policies the Franklin D. Roosevelt pursued as president, the famous package of measures known as the New Deal.

"Rather than representing an idealistic depiction of the living conditions of the country's poorest people, the FSA photographers were part of an effective marketing apparatus," she says.

The negative charge of the word 'propaganda' and the persuasive function of marketing does not square well with the demands of the documentary genre regarding objectivity and authenticity. The dissertation shows that the political function of the FSA was written out of history in order for the project to be able to serve as a symbol and a national legacy. This was done by suppressing the images that make the marketing of the administration's policies apparent.

"This is most clearly the case when it comes to the best-known FSA photographer, Walker Evans, who is seen today as one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century. Despite this status, much of his production for FSA has not received much notice," says Cecilia Strandroth.

Her dissertation presents and discusses a large number of these photographs, many of which were never previously ascribed to Walker Evans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Uppsala University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Uppsala University. "Analysis Of Documentary Photos Revises History." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071211095823.htm>.
Uppsala University. (2007, December 16). Analysis Of Documentary Photos Revises History. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071211095823.htm
Uppsala University. "Analysis Of Documentary Photos Revises History." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071211095823.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Facebook Wants You To Download Its Messenger App

Why Facebook Wants You To Download Its Messenger App

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Facebook will start requiring users to download a separate Messenger application if they wish to continue using Facebook for mobile messaging. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen's Phone Ignites Under Her Pillow; How Real Is The Risk?

Teen's Phone Ignites Under Her Pillow; How Real Is The Risk?

Newsy (July 28, 2014) A Texas teen's Samsung phone apparently ignited while she slept, but what was the real problem here? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zillow Snaps Up Web Real Estate With Trulia Deal

Zillow Snaps Up Web Real Estate With Trulia Deal

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Zillow's decision to buy rival Trulia is just one step in a continuing string of acquisitions, and Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff is already thinking about his next big deal. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins