Feed of


I didn’t expect much from the “Pictures of Women” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.   I was never a fan of art, so when I arrived, my pessimistic attitude prevented me from enjoying the exhibit to its full potential.  However, certain pictures were able to shine through to me and make me stop and think for a while.  The first picture to turn my head was “Woman with Flag” by Tina Modotti.

When I first saw “Woman with Flag,” several elements of the picture distinguished themselves.  The photograph comprises a woman holding a large dark flag.  It’s a simple photo, but what first caught my attention was the woman’s posture.  She was standing straight, with her head held high.  Her stance reflected her strength and independence.  The picture was taken in the 1920’s, so one could assume that the liberties of women at the time were being suppressed.  To see the woman stand with such pride made a very strong statement.

The second element of the picture that caught my attention was the woman’s face.  Her expression was very stern and angry, which is understandable if she is indeed a representation of women’s rights.  Her face was very strained, as if the woman is in pain.  The anger and anguish displayed on her face inspires an amount of sympathy and respect for her and what she symbolizes.

Another interesting aspect of the photo was the flag that the woman was holding.  It was huge, and it had no symbol on it; it was a solid color.  This indicated that she was representing more than just a nation, but an idea.   Also, the solid color of the flag reflects the solidity of the idea it represents. The size of the flag suggests that the idea is rather large and important. The picture was taken in Italy, so if the woman held an Italian flag I would expect her represent nationalism.  But since she has a solid flag, she must represent something deeper.

Seeing the woman’s strong and prideful stance in combination with her huge solid flag in an exhibit about female photographers, my conclusion was that the woman’s flag represents femininity.   The photograph symbolizes pride in being a woman. The woman’s powerful posture makes the picture more powerful as a whole, and demands respect for all women from anyone who sees it.

Among the many pictures at the “Pictures by Women” exhibit, only a few caught my attention. Among those few, only a couple pictures are still fresh in my mind.  The picture that most stood out to me in the exhibit was “Genital Panic” by VALIE EXPORT (her name is intentionally upper-case.)  This picture is aggressive, extreme, and daring, which is everything I like to see in art.

“Genital Panic” is perhaps the photograph that I enjoyed the most at the exhibit.  This piece is a collection of six posters made from the same photograph. The photograph shows a woman sitting on a platform in a crowd while holding a machine gun.  Her hair is messy and her clothes would be considered men’s clothes at the time the photo was taken.  Her face was very stern.  This photograph seemed to me like a bold form of empowerment.  Her posture, her clothing, and the gun give her the impression of a rebel, and since she was dressed something like a man, I assumed she was rebelling against male-dominated society.  Considering that the picture was posted in public squares, I thought it was a strong form of rebellion.

However, I later listened to the commentary about the picture from the MoMa website and realized she was wearing crotch-less pants, leaving her vagina exposed.  The vagina changed things in the picture for me.  Now the woman’s message became extreme, and it all made much more sense.  The reason she was wielding a gun was to protect herself, or rather, her sexuality.  Displaying her genitalia in front of a crowd makes such a bold statement because she’s showing the men in her male-dominant society that she’s proud of her sexuality and is willing to defend it with force.  I reconsidered that she posted this picture all around the city and developed an even greater respect for her.  Being comfortable enough and proud enough with her body to post that photograph enhances her message and makes an even bolder statement about the desire of women to be treated as equals.  The radical nature of the photograph is what makes it so strong.

From “Genital Panic” and a few other photographs, the MoMa exhibit changed my perception of photography.  While my stance on modern art in general remains the same, I have developed a new respect for photography.  I think of it as more than pressing a button in front of something pretty.  Photography is used to convey emotion, depict ideas, and make statements, which is just as much of an art as anything other medium.

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.

Nicole’s Photography Experience

JoAnn Verburg Still Life with Serial Killers 1991

A still life usually contains a picture of flowers or fruit in a basket, or some object in a domestic setting. I found this portrait interesting because it contains the elements of a still life but instead of fruit or flowers, there’s a newspaper article about serial killers. In this way, the artist is showing the realistic side of this life that is filled with crime and murder. In Verburg’s summary on the MOMA website, she said that flowers she bought were covered by the newspaper that had the article on the serial killers in it. This is ironic because flowers are pure and beautiful while crime is tainted and ugly. In the picture itself, there are artistic postcards on the side, but it’s the ugly truth that is most conspicuous. Perhaps she is saying that bad news gets more attention than the good things that stay in the background. I also noted the expressions of the women in the postcards were all somber and thought that it related to the melancholy of the crime-filled newspaper. I felt that the positioning of the vase in this portrait was important as well. It is off centered slightly sharing the spotlight with a postcard. This could be the artist’s way of saying that on an every-day basis, people are dealing with more than one thing at a time.

Valie Export Genital Panic 1969

I felt like this picture exemplified radicalism. Already knowing her history that she wanted to counter male-dominating artists and that she changed her name so it would have no connection to her father or husband gave me the background needed to make more deductions from the picture. I noticed the picture did a good job of showing her rebellious nature through her teased hair, leather jacket, rifle, and crotchless pants. The gun shows her ferocity and confidence. The superimposition of the photo six times makes me feel like her message is really important, and not something most people can just look past. She is sitting on the bench with her legs spread open. I find this interesting because her facial expression is very nonchalant, but at the same time she is expressing her point that her genitalia is her image. I think both of these pictures attracted me because they exceeded normal bounds.

Nicole Lennon

Izaya’s Photography Response

Izaya Abdurakhmanov

MHC 100 Arts in NYC

I entered this seminar with practically no appreciation for modern art. Then came along the “Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Prior to this exhibit I believed that photography was rather simple and something not requiring much skill. I also didn’t think photography was really art. However, after seeing some striking photos I realized that photography really does take skill and that it can actually have an impact.

The first photo that really caught my eye in the exhibit was called “Venus Chiding Cupid and Removing His Wings” by Julia Margaret Cameron. In this photo there is a female figure, who is supposed to represent Venus from Roman mythology, removing the wings from a naked child, who is supposed to represent Cupid. This photo was taken in 1872 and the photographer, Cameron, was one of the ones who started the idea of the staged photograph according to what I learned from the exhibit. The people in the photo are in costume and are positioned purposely in that manner as opposed to a photograph taken in the moment of an event. What makes this idea of a staged photograph so impressive is that I completely forget I am looking at a photograph because it looks like a painting. The photo literally looked like it was a painting of mythological beings, especially the child. The child in the photo looks pretty angelic due to the nudity enhancing the lightness of his skin color. The child looks so pure and vulnerable and the woman, being above the child, is clearly portrayed as a maternal figure. Both are white                                      therefore stressing the heavenly and mythological theme of the photo. The maternity of the woman in the photo is also highlighted through the title. The woman is chiding the child, which is a necessary thing for mothers to do in order to raise their children. The look on the child’s face looks sorry and sad just exactly how a child’s face would look after getting scolded and punished. Overall, what I liked the most and what impressed me the most about this photograph was the way the people seemed to actually be mythological as well as the angelic qualities of the child placed together with the maternity of the woman.

Another photo that attracted my attention was “ The Wind Harp” by Anne W. Brigman. The reason I stopped to look at this photo was because I like nature and this looked like a nice and interesting picture with a person in nature. In this photo, there is a silhouette of a woman standing next to a short, leafless tree with its branches going in several directions. The figure is holding out its hands as if holding a harp. In the background there is barely any light since the sun has almost set. In class I found out that the person in the picture is the photographer herself. At first glance I though it was the silhouette of a man with long hair but it is a lot more interesting knowing that Brigman posed for her own photos. The reason I thought it was a man was because the figure strongly resembles a centaur. Only the upper body is visible and it looks like it is connected to the tree, which looks like the bottom half of a horse.  In addition, the position of the arms makes it look like the figure is holding a bow and arrow. Either way it is a very interesting and fascinating image. What I like is how the background causes the figure to become a part of the nature rather than stand out from it. The non-existent harp in the hands of the figure adds to the harmony and oneness with nature that the photo is conveying. The photographer had to specifically wait until this time of day to take this photo, which is also very impressive and worth noticing. It shows how important the sunset is to the photo is making her become one with nature.

Overall, the exhibition definitely changed my views on photography and modern art. The photos that intrigued me proved to be taken rather skillfully in addition to having a lot of meaning. I also realized how staged photos take a lot of thought and creativity to create a message. Overall, I think that this was an eye-opening experience.


Anthony Margulies

Prof. Judith Jablanka

MHC 100.001


Photography Response

New Insights in Photography

When I arrived at the MoMA I was filled with dread and regret. Art museums were never something I was too fond of. As such, I sluggishly strolled up the stairs to meet our tour guide. Upon first sight of the exhibit I yawned, knowing I was in for 2 hours of boredom and self sacrifice. However, little did I know that by the end of the tour I would walk out with a new appreciation for the art of photography

For the most part the exhibit was nothing special to me. I found the lack of inspiration and monotony of the exhibit to be sleep inducing. In fact, I didn’t even make it through the tour itself. When we reached the last room however, everything changed. There, like two diamonds in the rough, I came across two photos, both in color, and both yelling at me to notice them. They broke the mundane pattern of black and white photographs with unique characteristics that brought fourth a wave of emotion from within me.

The first of the two photographs to catch my attention was “Berlin” by Gundala Schulze. It was taken in 1987 and captured a scene of what I can only describe as chaos. In the photo, what appeared to be a homeless woman was running at Ms. Schulze with a knife. The scene was in the woods and the entire edge of the photo was dark and the center where the action was taking place was bright. It was while observing this scene of chaos that I came across a peculiar detail that everyone else had missed. The homeless lady’s boots were very similar to the modern “UGG” brand. In fact they were the same exact design. Seeing this one little almost insignificant detail suddenly brought forth a surge of thought and emotion for this lady.

When I re-analyzed her attire in the context of her boots, I suddenly realized that had she worn that exact same outfit now, she would have been considered lucky and possibly even a fashion icon. After all, UGGs are all the rage now. This seemingly lowly homeless lady had on her feet boots that young women across the world desire, except she was 20 years too early for the fashion trend. It was this fact that made me feel almost in awe. Thinking about how one idea or thing in the past or even now could be considered insignificant or worthless, yet in the future could somehow be valuable or hold prestige was inspiring. The feeling made me want to save everything I ever owned and it made me regret having thrown out some of my childhood memories under the justification that it was time for me to move on. After seeing the lady depicted in “Berlin”, I realized that there is never a right time to throw anything away. Anything, whether it be an idea or something as insignificant as an earring could at some point in the future hold value. Whether this value is intrinsic or based on current trends is unknown and it doesn’t matter. Nothing is valueless in life. That was the lesson I learned from “Berlin” and it’s a lesson I won’t soon forget.

As if the emotional upheaval caused by “Berlin” wasn’t enough, the next photograph I came across was even more enlightening. “Mother With Children, Harlan County” by Sheron Kerpo and set in Kentucky was almost impossible to decipher at first glance. I won’t lie, when I first saw the photo I thought to myself “Wow, here’s a photo of white trash if I’ve ever seen one.”  In the scene, a portly mother holds a baby in her left arm, and simultaneously drapes her right arm over her daughter, who has both of her arms around a younger brother.  The background is composed of a dirt road, and what can only be described as a trash heap.  As I continued to gaze at the photo though, new details appeared to me that I hadn’t seen before. For instance, everyone in the photo was smiling, despite the gloomy surroundings. Also, the love between this family was evident. The way everyone was holding onto one another showed a strong family unit and lots of love. Then, despite the fact that this detail was there the whole time, I noticed that everyone’s clothes were not only spotless, but absolutely vibrant in color, especially the young daughter’s red dress.

From an archetypal perspective, red symbolizes sacrifice. I couldn’t help feeling the sacrifice that this young girl must go through. She might have dreams to be an astronaut or go to college, but most likely she’ll end up in the same position as her mom. I don’t see anything wrong with that, it’s just that given the living conditions they were in, I could tell that anyone given the opportunity would probably try to leave that place. At the same time though, I could feel the love oozing out of this photo and then I thought that it’s not just the young daughter who sacrifices, it’s the whole family. For their clothes to be that spotless, the mom must slave all day cleaning and ironing their clothes to perfection. Similarly, the young boy must play a role as well, most likely helping with chores and other household tasks. Even the baby wasn’t exempt from sacrifice. He was destined to live a life always wanting more and never quite feeling satisfied due to the economic conditions he was brought up in.

Despite the sacrifice that all the members of the family must make, they were all smiling. Seeing those smiles made me realize that the love they must have for one another is what pulls them through each day. Love is an everlasting bond, especially between family members. And at the end of the day, when you think to yourself that life sucks, having someone there for you because they love you can make all the difference in the world. This photo really touched me because it made me think about the love I have for both my mother and sister and how I wouldn’t have made it without them.

Going to the photography exhibit opened my eyes to the possibilities that photography offers. It isn’t just an act of clicking a button and capturing a scene. Photography requires taking pictures that bring forth emotion, or make the viewer think. Photography, just like any art form, isn’t easy to understand, and it’s because of this that it is really is wonderful.

Cindy Sherman’s Untitled 92

I chose this print, not because it was the last piece of the exhibition’s tour and therefore the easiest one to remember, but because it seemed more like a film still than simply a piece of modern photography. After perusing through several websites, I discovered that this was exactly the effect Cindy Sherman was trying to give off in her first series of self-portraits called Untitled Film Stills.

In this print dating back to 1981, Sherman poses herself in an interesting way. The first thing the viewer takes notice of, other than its size which is larger than most of the other pictures in the gallery, is her clothing. She is dressed in a contemporary schoolgirl outfit- a navy blue and red striped skirt and a white button down shirt. Her pose is not forced; she looks as if she is frozen with fear. Her long, well kept nails are covered in dirt and almost ready to claw at the floor she is thrown down against. An even more vivid visual are her bright blue eyes, almost ranging into a clear grey. Those eyes are transfixed on something out of view from the audience, yet it is obvious that it is something menacing and worthy of invoking such fear from this innocent young girl.

I also quite enjoyed listening to the tour guide make up stories about the possible circumstances this piece could be about, and they are quite possible. Pictures such as these are so believable and possess a certain quality that can really transport the viewer into the depicted situation, trying to piece together all the details from what is clearly visible to him or her. There indeed is a story behind this piece, yet one can only try to assume what it is. Sherman herself may not have known whatever is was that was supposed to be pursuing her when she took this, and she perhaps was only concerned with capturing the facial expression and physical responses that come along with absolute fear, confusion, uncertainty.

Cindy Sherman’s piece could perfectly well be the poster art for a B Movie horror film. It almost exudes an Alfred Hitchcock-esque vibe from its simple yet effective presentation and fear-ridden subject. The preppy clothes and large, frightened blue eyes are synonymous with the horror films I grew up watching from the late seventies and eighties. This could also be why I was so hesitant from moving onto another picture after stopping in front of this one. I was transfixed by the scene before me because it was a familiar situation to me that brought up familiar feelings in me – the adrenaline rush and anticipation I get when watching an intense action sequence, where the poor victim is trapped in a corner, cowering in fear, awaiting whatever terror is about to come her way, just as Sherman is doing in her ‘film still’.

Marcin: Photography

taken by Helen Levitt

When listening to the commentaries on the museum’s website, the above picture captured my attention almost immediately. I didn’t learn much about it from the commentary however, as the curator chose to speak of other photographs and techniques of Levitt’s and such. After doing a little research of my own, I found an article in the Times about Ms. Levitt, which featured that photograph and gave it this caption, “A 1939 image of trick-or-treaters by Ms. Levitt was part of the inaugural exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art’s photography department in 1940.” When I was in the exhibit itself I don’t remember seeing this photograph in particular of Levitt’s, though it is possible I could have simply overlooked it, but nevertheless, it made enough of an impression to make me want to comment on it.

From what I’ve seen from my little research stint that particular photograph did not have a name. I’m not sure if that’s a common thing in photography, being more interested in paintings myself. This is a detail that makes me dislike photography more than other art forms—the lack of a name gives me the feeling that it is impersonal, mechanical and cold.

What really struck me and made me remember this photograph in particular was that it featured young children. Normally in art, I expect to see adults, or landscapes, religious scenes, or scenes from mythology and so on. That is why the description of Levitt, “She became intrigued by the chalk drawings children would make on the streets…” made me sit up and take notice. Are not most formal portraits done at the behest of someone other? How many portraits are done at the insistence of the artist rather than at the insistence (and payment) of a patron? Depictions of children in art always seemed to be more innocent in that sense. The child likely does not care about having a painting of himself, making it more about the art and less about the demand of a commission. Adding to this is the fact that the photo was taken candidly, as many of Levitt’s photographs were. Here was an artist, I thought to myself, who worked not for commission or payment, but for whatever kept her interest.

“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman” by Bernice Abbott caught my attention and forced my consideration as I walked through the exhibit, even despite my initial intention to simply go in and take a brief look at the ones I had already decided I wanted to write about. I admit that I was only giving the exhibit a cursory walk-through at first, so that my eyes seemingly slid over this photograph the first time, dismissing it.

What made me pause first was its caption, which reminded me of the similarly titled book by Joyce that I’ve been meaning to read. Looking at it again, or rather, for the first time with all of my attention on it, I thought that the use of distortion was really very clever for a self-portrait, particularly one of a young woman, because of the symbolism and depth it added.

To me, photography, while having the potential to be aesthetically pleasing or perhaps well executed, always seemed like a shallow venture. Where was the hidden message? Where was the emotion of the photographer? How could he pretend to create meaning in such a mechanical art form? In my personal opinion, the event photographed could be powerful or moving, but to say that the photograph itself is moving would be an overstatement.

Anyone could take a picture of any given event, person, or place. There isn’t anything special about something that can be duplicated, or produced by a different person behind the same camera at the same time and place. Arguing about the skill of the photographer involved, or the work put into developing, and the element of luck in capturing the perfect photo seems to me like arguing semantics. A photograph couldn’t possibly be as layered and plied with meaning as a painting—or so I thought.

I believe that this photograph represents the feeling of distortion present in one’s own body image, and the malleability and subjectivity of one’s looks, which in turn represents a depth that I have never really encountered in photography before, one that causes me to reevaluate my skepticism of the versatility and spirit of originality of the medium.

Cindy Lozito: Photography Paper

“Child and her Mother” by Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange’s photographs of the Dust Bowl in the “Women in Photography” exhibit emit intense emotions of sorrow and sympathy.  In particular, “Child and her Mother, Wapato, Yakima Valley, Washington” influenced me on a basic and emotional level. The connective role “Child and her Mother” plays in its subject makes it a valuable contribution to the exhibit.

Seeing Lange’s Dust Bowl photographs in person was a powerful encounter for me.  I had seen Lange’s works in textbooks and online sources before, but viewing them as physical prints helped me penetrate the scenes of poverty and experience the people’s pain and suffering in the closest way possible, beside actually witnessing the events in person. Details of the physical print, such as the way light hits their faces or how the shadows of the daughter’s dark hair frame her gloomy expression, help convey the mother and daughter’s hardships clearer.

The educator who explained Lange’s pieces brought up a few points about photojournalism that helped deepen my interpretation of the works. She mentioned how photojournalism is a life-changing art form because it implies that the photographer has an obligation to show the truth in his or her work. Photojournalism, especially in a historical period as intense as the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, also creates a complicated relationship between the photographer and the subject. I believe that the relationship shared between Dorothea Lange, the mother in “Child and her Mother,” and even the viewer is bound together with a common thread; all we can do is observe a painful scenario that cannot be changed. The child’s mother can only watch her daughter suffer, Lange can only capture their hopelessness, and I can only sympathize for a family that I wish I could have helped.

“Child and her Mother” is an intense work because it displays cold truth in its most natural form. Lange’s ability to capture emotions through her photojournalism is remarkable, and being able to connect to it through the “Women in Photography” exhibit was especially inspiring.

“The Hug” by Nan Goldin

Numerous photographs in the “Women in Photography” exhibit displayed influential and disturbing subject matter. One piece in particular, “The Hug, New York City” by Nana Goldin, stood out to me as a frightening but inspiring work. The photograph’s elements, especially its focal point, composition, usage of color, and emphasis on details, contribute to the mysterious and haunting quality it holds in the exhibit.

The photograph features an unknown woman’s bare back, an area of the body typically associated with vulnerability and exposure. She has a head full of messy dark hair that reaches off of the canvas and provides a feeling of violence, as if it has been involuntarily tampered with. Perhaps one of the most powerful parts of the photograph is the muscular male arm gripped firmly against the woman’s waist. Both of their faces are unseen, and the man’s dark shadow blends into the woman’s hair as if he is engulfing her. The piece carries an ominous aura with the hint of blue present in the woman’s dress, her hair, and the surrounding walls and furniture. The fact that the couple is slightly off-center and leading outside of the canvas creates worrisome turbulence in the piece.

When I first came across “The Hug” in the exhibit area, a mixture of fearful thoughts came to mind. I immediately wanted to remove the girl in the blue dress from the eerie room and threatening man to bring her to a safe place. The piece’s punk rock New York City location along with Goldin’s observational style of photography made feel more melancholy; both factors suggest that it may have been an actual event rather than a posed picture.

Nan Goldin’s “The Hug” thrives with artistic elements meant to startle its viewers. Goldin’s contributions to the “Women in Photography” exhibit, though morbid and raw, provided interesting insight into her perspective of America in the 1980s that I appreciated observing.

Photography Response- Kate

1) Photographer Zofia Rydet, Polish 1911-1997

Title: Untitled from the series Sociological Record (1978-88)

This photograph is in black and white and shows an elderly woman sitting on a bed in her house. There is a chicken sitting next to her and there is a large tapestry with a religious image behind her. On the sides of the photograph there are a table and a countertop. Both of these surfaces are cluttered with bottles and other objects.

This photograph immediately caught my attention because it reminded me of my childhood in Russia. The interior of the house has an Eastern European image, which brought back memories of my great grandmothers house. When I saw this photograph I felt like I was five years old walking into my great grandmother’s house once again. I was surprised by the similarities between the two women and the two houses. For example, the arrangement of the table on the right side of the room is something that I have seen many times in my life. The small details on the table such as the tablecloth, left over food and the glass bottle half filled with milk give off the impression of reality. These little details help show that this is more than just a photograph, it is what life looked like during the time period.

The details in the photograph give clues to the type of life this woman led. The first clue, is that the woman is sitting on the bed which makes her look tired. However, the expression on her face is strong and makes her look like she has been through hard times in her life. Another clue is the woman’s feet. She is wearing a slipper on one foot, while the other foot is exposed. You can see that the woman’s feet are swollen. The image of the woman’s swollen feet combined with the image of the chicken on her bed made me think that she did a lot of physical labor in her life and probably produced most of her own food. This contributed to the memories of my childhood because my grandmother owned chickens and planted her own vegetation as well.

The photographer who took this photograph was from Poland. As a result, the woman in this photograph is most likely Polish. The similarities between the Polish woman’s household and my great grandmother’s house in Russia made me realize that the living conditions and cultures in the two areas are closely related.

Photographer: Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965)

Title: Funeral Cortege, End of an Era in a Small Valley Town, California (!938)

This is a black and white photograph that shows a woman sitting in an old fashioned car and looking out of the window. The car is a part of a funeral cortege. The photograph shows only a portion of the car, which takes up most of the space. However, there is a small area of the sky visible in the top right corner.

I noticed this photograph because of its simplicity, which calls attention to the woman’s facial expression. She looks like she is full of sorrow. However, she is not crying. This gave me the impression that she is so upset because of the death, that she is not capable of crying. The death has worn her out to the point where she no longer has the energy or need to cry.

Another interesting aspect of the photo is the reflection of the clouds in the car’s window. As a result, when you look at the women’s face you are seeing it through the reflection of the clouds. I think this image relates to the feelings the woman is experiencing. The woman is so upset by the death that as she looks out of the car window her eyes are looking, but she is not seeing anything. Instead, she is deep in thought about the death and her head is in the clouds.

I noticed this photograph in the exhibition because it presented a mystery. It made me wonder how the woman was related to the person who died. I also wondered what caused the person’s death. I know that this photograph was taken towards the end of the Great Depression. Because of this, I’m curious to know whether the person’s death is related to the situation in the country during the Depression and whether the Depression somehow contributed to the death.  In addition`, I like the title of this photograph (The Funeral Cortege: End of an Era in a Small Valley Town, California) because it uses the words “funeral” and “end”. The title of the photograph tells me that a person’s life came to an end, but also a time period in history came to end. It reminds me that during the Great Depression, many people experienced the same sorrow that the woman’s facial expression conveys.

Photography Response: Lidiya K

This trip was not only my first visit to the Museum of Modern Art but also my first true introduction to photography.  During the gallery talk, I had realized I missed the biggest photograph of the entire museum: the photo of a collection of still shots taken by Yoko Ono of people’s behinds. I also began to understand that photography can have many uses of which I was previously unaware.

The first photograph that gained my attention was “Leaf Pattern” by Imogen Cunningham, taken in 1928. The subject of the photo is very simple: a leaf. However, the way in which the leaf was photographed made me appreciative of such a simple item. The leaf is made intricate through the use of lighting and camera angle. At first glance, my eyes began to wonder. The shadow of the leaf resembled another leaf and so my eyes were trying to distinguish the real from the imaginary. As I kept looking, however, the photo gained more unity because everything seemed to eventually connect to the center of the leaf. The use of shadows in this photograph also made the shape of the leaf more defined. The edges were made distinct and their shape was emphasized.

After having gone to the museum I went home and looked up Imogen Cunningham online. I browsed through some of her other photographs and read an excerpt about her life. I found many other photos that caught my attention. The main subjects of her work include botanicals, nudes and industry. After our classroom discussion of photography I became even more intrigued by her work, especially after Darien’s passionate commentary about another photograph done by Imogen Cunningham. Professor Jablonka ended the class with several photographs of different flowers, which to me were very reminiscent of the work of Imogen Cunningham. This got me thinking that my final project will either focus on just Imogen Cunningham or botanical photographs in general.

As I continued my walk through the museum, I found another photograph whose beauty drew me in. This is a photograph by Martha Graham entitled “Letter to the World.” Again, there are many aspects of this photo that I began to appreciate. The subject of the photograph is a woman. She is a dancer and the photographer captured one of the steps of her performance. At the instance the photo was taken the woman has her leg raised and her dress creates a curtain covering both her legs. What caught my attention was the perfection of the dress. Her legs are hidden and barely outlined within the wrinkles of the dress; it’s as if they don’t exist. The skills of the dancer enticed me as much as the professionally taken photograph. The woman aligns her body parallel to the floor, making a 180-degree line with her body. The expression of the woman’s face also catches the eye. She has her palm to her forehead indicating that the dance she is performing accompanies a somber mood.

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