All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Analysis of Discourses Encompassing the 'Migrant Mother' Picture
Unformatted Document Text:  3 right cheek, while an infant is sleeping in her lap, and two other children are clinging close. The four figures seem so close, so tight. The picture focuses on the facial expression of a gaunt, sunburnt woman. Her face, lined with worry and despair, touched the heart of a nation (Curtis, 1989; Gregory, 1989; Coles, 1997). The picture has aesthetic value as well as journalistic value at the time. Thus, besides being used as a straight news photograph between 1936-1938, it was also used during that time in special interest and more popular magazines to represent the difficulties of migrant workers in general. It also began to be exhibited in 1938 in major photographic exhibits and in a photographic book (Fleischhauer and Brannan, 1988; Preston, 1995). For this study, I classified genres of media representing the Migrant Mother picture into four – photojournalism, documentary photography, government public relations, and art photography. Then, I examined the internal context of the photograph -- how the meaning of the photograph is altered by its accompanying captions, texts and other photographs. I also analyzed how the meaning of the same image undergoes a transformation when it is presented within the contexts of a different genre. 2. Literature Review 1) Polysemy of a photographic image From the beginning of its history, photography was conceived as an unmediated copy of the real world. That is, the exclusion of human intervention in the whole photographic process was stressed. Light passes through a lens and makes traces of light on a photographic plate or film having chemical preparation. It is optical and mechanical process, not intervened by human. And then, the print is made by chemical process. In other words, a photographic image is a product of object itself, mechanically produced in the way objects of the physical world imprint their image onto the photographic plate (Tagg, 1988; Schiller, 1977). Thus, the whole photographic process was conceived as a natural process, consisted of just optical, mechanical, and chemical processes, not of human intervention. As the technological nature of photography -- capturing an image without human intervention – was emphasized, the photographic image was conceived as having only a meaning as it is - that is, a fixed meaning. Since the 1960s, several scholars, however, have argued that photography is not simply capturing reality by straightforwardly transmitting what exists ‘out there’, but instead is constructions selectively made by photographers (Becker, 1974, 1978; Berger, 1982; Burgin, 1977; Blyton, 1987). First of all, the very process of making photographs was questioned. It was claimed that photographers used a wide variety of techniques to control the images they made (Hales, 1984). By varying the position of his camera, camera

Authors: Choi, Hyunju.
first   previous   Page 3 of 18   next   last



background image
3
right cheek, while an infant is sleeping in her lap, and two other children are clinging close.
The four figures seem so close, so tight. The picture focuses on the facial expression of a
gaunt, sunburnt woman. Her face, lined with worry and despair, touched the heart of a
nation (Curtis, 1989; Gregory, 1989; Coles, 1997). The picture has aesthetic value as well
as journalistic value at the time. Thus, besides being used as a straight news photograph
between 1936-1938, it was also used during that time in special interest and more popular
magazines to represent the difficulties of migrant workers in general. It also began to be
exhibited in 1938 in major photographic exhibits and in a photographic book (Fleischhauer
and Brannan, 1988; Preston, 1995).
For this study, I classified genres of media representing the Migrant Mother
picture into four – photojournalism, documentary photography, government public
relations, and art photography. Then, I examined the internal context of the photograph --
how the meaning of the photograph is altered by its accompanying captions, texts and
other photographs. I also analyzed how the meaning of the same image undergoes a
transformation when it is presented within the contexts of a different genre.
2. Literature Review
1) Polysemy of a photographic image
From the beginning of its history, photography was conceived as an unmediated
copy of the real world. That is, the exclusion of human intervention in the whole
photographic process was stressed. Light passes through a lens and makes traces of light
on a photographic plate or film having chemical preparation. It is optical and mechanical
process, not intervened by human. And then, the print is made by chemical process. In
other words, a photographic image is a product of object itself, mechanically produced in
the way objects of the physical world imprint their image onto the photographic plate
(Tagg, 1988; Schiller, 1977). Thus, the whole photographic process was conceived as a
natural process, consisted of just optical, mechanical, and chemical processes, not of
human intervention. As the technological nature of photography -- capturing an image
without human intervention – was emphasized, the photographic image was conceived as
having only a meaning as it is - that is, a fixed meaning.
Since the 1960s, several scholars, however, have argued that photography is not
simply capturing reality by straightforwardly transmitting what exists ‘out there’, but
instead is constructions selectively made by photographers (Becker, 1974, 1978; Berger,
1982; Burgin, 1977; Blyton, 1987). First of all, the very process of making photographs
was questioned. It was claimed that photographers used a wide variety of techniques to
control the images they made (Hales, 1984). By varying the position of his camera, camera


Convention
All Academic Convention is the premier solution for your association's abstract management solutions needs.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 3 of 18   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.