Image-text combination as narrative instrument

Of course, you don’t need to resort to image manipulation techniques to alter the meaning of an image, as Errol Morris (2008) puts it, “[c]aptions do the heavy lifting as far as deception is concerned. The pictures merely provide the window dressing” but this aspect of fakery is less commonly explored in discussions of misinformation. Continue reading “Image-text combination as narrative instrument”

Dorothea Lange & Paul Taylor, An American Exodus

What I really respect about Lange is that she went in with the idea of telling these people’s stories, hence the work she did with husband Taylor is one of the first instances I can find where images are systematically displayed alongside first-hand testimony that speaks of the why and wherefore behind or related to the visual. Continue reading “Dorothea Lange & Paul Taylor, An American Exodus”

Richard Wright, 12 Million Black Voices

EACH DAY when you see us black folk upon the dusty land of the farms or upon the hard pavement of the city streets, you usually take us for granted and think you know us, but our history is far stranger than you suspect, and we are not what we seem.” (Wright 2002, p 10) Continue reading “Richard Wright, 12 Million Black Voices”

David Whitford, The Most Famous Story We Never Told

In this article, written for Fortune Magazine in 2005, Whitford revisits Hale County (again!!) 69 years later and talks to some of the surviving members of the three tenant families. What is really great about this article is that Whitford allows the subjects to speak for themselves, and even includes some of their slang and grammatical errors so we can almost hear the Southern drawl in their voices. Continue reading “David Whitford, The Most Famous Story We Never Told”

James Agee & Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families

This is one of the first books that I found when I started exploring documentary photography back in the early days of my study! What impressed me at that time was the fact that the text in no way tries to explain the images or define them, or describe what they depict (although as Errol Morris has pointed out, Agee does an inventory of the contents of a sharecropper family home and Evans photographs it, even using this as the basis for his photographic revelation of Evans as one not averse to moving objects around the interiors or even adding the infamous alarm clock!). Continue reading “James Agee & Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Three Tenant Families”

Erskine Caldwell & Margaret Bourke-White, You Have Seen Their Faces

One of the first books to come out of the depression era documentary movement was this book. I found a lot of the pages published online here. Continue reading “Erskine Caldwell & Margaret Bourke-White, You Have Seen Their Faces”

Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York (HONY)

When I explained what I do with photography and first-person narratives, one of my students told me about this project. Brandon Stanton outlines the project on the website as such:

“Humans of New York began as a photography project in 2010. The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants.”
Continue reading “Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York (HONY)”

Susan Meiselas, Carnival Strippers

This is another book publication, but one that juxtaposes outsider images with insider text or verbal testimony. This project helped Meiselas gain entry into Magnum, where the photographs are also available for view. Many of the images are reminiscent of cattle markets. Continue reading “Susan Meiselas, Carnival Strippers”