Nov 29 2009

Take One, Take Two, Take Twenty?

Published by Rhianna Mohamed under ICP Exhibit

“Hastings Park, 16 July 1955” was taken in 2008, but who would know that? Who would also know that the photo was to mirror workers unrest in Vancouver, Canada during the 1950s? In 1912, there was a free speech rally and in 1935, there was a labor strike. This photo did not necessarily need to include any violence nor any “loudness” as there would be (typically in a strike), but for some odd reason, Douglas did not have to show angry workers protesting in the park. He was able to convey his message by capturing just the opposite – placid (in the terms in that they are sitting and not boycotting), unemployed residents.
The expressions on all of their faces revealed worry, but at the same time, ease. The attire worn by the men and women in the picture helped me, as its audience member, know the time frame in which it was taken. The women wearing their lipstick, hair tightly knit under a hair cap, with men in suits. Men of all class types dressed formally, but casually for their times. No one looking directly at us (the audience) reflects their preoccupied lives because of the unemployment at the time and their wish not to come back to reality – having to face it. By looking away, it shows their persistent turning away from their problems; they do not want to “face the music.”
As a “family photographer,” I have to retake photos over and over again and still I fail to manage to get it “right.” Douglas’s “Hastings Park, 16 July 1955” was so “right” with its imperfections. The ICP Exhibit had many pieces of work that were so unusual, but just as tasteful as something more “proper”. The exhibit was highly innovative. Without the use of words, the ICP gallery sent many streams of nerves down my body. It was moving, it was inspiring, and, it was art. It was truly, in the words of Professor Davis, “authentic”.

To view more about Douglas, click here. Hastings

One response so far

One Response to “Take One, Take Two, Take Twenty?”

  1.   Sai Maon 01 Dec 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I was amazed at just how this photograph was able to depict such diversity and variation in terms of facial expression. If you look closely, there isn’t any pair of civilians with the same facial expressions or doing the same activity. What was also surprising to me was that this was taken in Canada. I remember I caught a glimpse of someone holding a Vancouver booklet and that to me was surprising because of how dominant America stands as an icon in terms of the vintage past.