Feed of

Photography paper

Kevin Wang

Analysis of two photographs

Pledge of Allegiance – San Francisco, California (photographed 1942)

(Dorothea Lange)

Dorothea Lange was a noted documentary photographer for her portrayal of raw emotions and images of historical event such as the Great Depression and World War II.  Pledge of Allegiance was taken in 1942, during the time when the U.S. was suspicious of the Japanese Americans as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  This photo first captured my attention because I was intrigued by the sad look on the young girl’s face in the front of the photo. On further examination, it became clear to me that she and the rest of the kids were pledging their allegiance to something. However, the face of the girl was filled with confusion; she seemed extremely vulnerable. In fact, nearly all of the kids in the photo had expressions that radiated anxiety. This anxiety reminded me of myself when I was a kid and the uncertainty I felt when I came to the new country, America. Therefore, I was drawn into the photo and wanted to know the history behind it. It was only after I learned that it was of the Japanese school children pledging allegiance to the American flag right before they were taken into internment camps, that I realized the reason for their expressions and everything fell into place. I realized that the children’s feeling of alienation is very similar to my own feelings of uncertainty in coming to America. I felt distressed that such an event in history has happened, but I also appreciated that a photo was taken of this event to remind us of it’s unjust cruelty.

Walking House (1989)

(Laurie Simmons)

When I first laid my eyes on this photograph, I thought it looked kind of ridiculous. After all, why are there legs under the house? However, the more I examined the photograph, the more I realized certain things. The legs supporting the house seemed to me to be the people supporting the housing market. I realized that it’s the people that give the house its value. Without the people, the legs, supporting the house, the house would come crashing down. After listening to the description of the photograph from the museum orator, I also realized that similarly, the people themselves place too much value on their material possessions. Therefore, their material possessions come to represent them as a person. I guess both of the ideas make sense and it works mutually; it is only because people support their possessions that their possessions have any value, and because of the support of the people, their possessions come to represent them. I feel that the photograph is a clear portrayal of the way people are continuing to live their lives.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.