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Analysis of Discourses Encompassing the 'Migrant Mother' Picture

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Abstract:

This paper investigated how a photographic image embodied different meanings in different discourses by analyzing its internal and external contexts. For the paper, I chose Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' picture which is one of the documentary photographs reproduced widely in the 1930s in America. The paper examined how each discourse directs the meaning of 'Migrant Mother' picture by analyzing how the photographic image had different meanings, along with different written texts and visual structures, depending on its presenting agency.
The result shows that the Migrant Mother picture was differently represented according to its accompanying texts and other photographs -- as plight of migrant workers suffering from poverty, as a symbol of the strong will of migrant workers, as a symbol of people who need public aid, or as a symbol of people who worry about the future of America. It shows that the specific meaning of a photographic image is strongly influenced by its accompanying verbal text. The presenting agency of a photograph, however, influenced how the photograph is accepted by viewers, rather than altering the specific meaning of the photographic image. Putting these results together, internal and external contexts of a photograph work together to form a discourse, and the discourse directs a specific and implicit meaning of a photographic image.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

photograph (148), migrant (108), pictur (82), mother (80), imag (53), mean (46), use (37), text (37), photographi (36), worker (33), context (31), govern (31), caption (26), farm (26), public (25), new (24), differ (24), fsa (23), documentari (22), peopl (21), show (21),

Author's Keywords:

visual communication, documentary, photography
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Name: International Communication Association
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MLA Citation:

Choi, Hyunju. "Analysis of Discourses Encompassing the 'Migrant Mother' Picture" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111537_index.html>

APA Citation:

Choi, H. , 2003-05-27 "Analysis of Discourses Encompassing the 'Migrant Mother' Picture" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111537_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper investigated how a photographic image embodied different meanings in different discourses by analyzing its internal and external contexts. For the paper, I chose Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' picture which is one of the documentary photographs reproduced widely in the 1930s in America. The paper examined how each discourse directs the meaning of 'Migrant Mother' picture by analyzing how the photographic image had different meanings, along with different written texts and visual structures, depending on its presenting agency.
The result shows that the Migrant Mother picture was differently represented according to its accompanying texts and other photographs -- as plight of migrant workers suffering from poverty, as a symbol of the strong will of migrant workers, as a symbol of people who need public aid, or as a symbol of people who worry about the future of America. It shows that the specific meaning of a photographic image is strongly influenced by its accompanying verbal text. The presenting agency of a photograph, however, influenced how the photograph is accepted by viewers, rather than altering the specific meaning of the photographic image. Putting these results together, internal and external contexts of a photograph work together to form a discourse, and the discourse directs a specific and implicit meaning of a photographic image.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 18
Word count: 6667
Text sample:
1 Analysis of Discourses Encompassing the ’Migrant Mother’ Picture Represented in Four Different Genres in The 1930s Abstract: (150-word) This paper investigated how a photographic image embodied different meanings in different discourses by analyzing its internal and external contexts. For the paper I chose Dorothea Lange’s ’Migrant Mother’ picture which is one of the documentary photographs reproduced widely in the 1930s in America. The paper examined how each discourse directs the meaning of ’Migrant Mother’ picture by analyzing how
Vision Shared: A Classic Portrait of America and Its People 1935-1943 New York; St. Martin’s Press Trachtenberg A.(1989) Reading American Photographs New York: Hill and Wang Walker J.A.(1997) Context as a Determinant of Photographic Meaning In Jessica Evans (Ed.) The Camerawork Essays: Context and Meaning in Photography London: Rivers Oram Press Worster D.(1979) Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press Special Collection FSA-OWI Textual Records. Farm Security Administration - Office of


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