All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Analysis of Discourses Encompassing the 'Migrant Mother' Picture
Unformatted Document Text:  5 of a photographic meaning. Susan Sontag writes; “A photograph changes according to the context in which it is seen: thus Smith’s Minamata photographs will seem different on a contact sheet, in a gallery, in a political demonstration, in a police file, in a photographic magazine, in a general news magazine, in a book, on a living room wall…” (In Tagg, 1979, p. 94-95). In addition, Roland Barthes (1977a) shows that the meaning of a photograph is heavily influenced by the publication that surrounds it, what he calls its 'channel of transmission'. Huang (1998) also points out that meanings of documentary photographs arise in the organizations in which the photographs are used. Despite a number of theoretical discussions, however, there are few systematic studies on how internal and external contexts contribute to the meaning of a photographic image. This study provides a case analysis on the meaning of photographic images by using the Migrant Mother photograph of the 1930s. 2) The Migrant Mother Picture (1) Historical Background The 1930s was a period of serious economic depression. The stock market crash of 1929 plunged the United States into a decade of economic chaos. The ensuing economic upheaval reverberated throughout social, political and cultural arenas. Millions of people were unemployed. Farmers were hit especially hard, by the collapse of the market and by the environmental devastation caused by severe drought and dust storms. Farmers also suffered from the mechanization of farming methods (Preston, 1995; Huang, 1998). The drought of 1932-1936 severely increased the poverty of American farmers (Taylor, 1976). According to Worster (1979), droughts had occurred cyclically on the Plains for decades, but from 1930 to 1936, droughts were especially long-lasting and intense throughout the United States, and above all, on the Great Plains --Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Recorded temperatures of 115 Fahrenheit degrees in Iowa and 118 Fahrenheit degrees in Nebraska occurred during heat waves in 1934. The most spectacular feature of the drought was the awesome dust storms 1 , which blackened the sky over much of the 1 Dust storms had occurred in the 1800s, even before any settlements were made, but the problem was aggravated. According to contemporary Federal reports, the Great Plains had been the nation’s greatest cattle country, but before the end of the 19 th century this range had been badly damaged by over-grazing. The land was heavily invaded by homesteaders, who tried to wring a living from the semi-arid soil (Allen, 1940). The soil was loosened from the anchor of the grass roots which had held it firm for centuries. The ecological balance was destroyed. There was no defense against the dry winds of the Plains, and the dust storm began.

Authors: Choi, Hyunju.
first   previous   Page 5 of 18   next   last



background image
5
of a photographic meaning. Susan Sontag writes; “A photograph changes according to the
context in which it is seen: thus Smith’s Minamata photographs will seem different on a
contact sheet, in a gallery, in a political demonstration, in a police file, in a photographic
magazine, in a general news magazine, in a book, on a living room wall…” (In Tagg, 1979,
p. 94-95). In addition, Roland Barthes (1977a) shows that the meaning of a photograph is
heavily influenced by the publication that surrounds it, what he calls its 'channel of
transmission'. Huang (1998) also points out that meanings of documentary photographs
arise in the organizations in which the photographs are used.
Despite a number of theoretical discussions, however, there are few systematic
studies on how internal and external contexts contribute to the meaning of a photographic
image. This study provides a case analysis on the meaning of photographic images by
using the Migrant Mother photograph of the 1930s.
2) The Migrant Mother Picture
(1) Historical Background
The 1930s was a period of serious economic depression. The stock market crash of
1929 plunged the United States into a decade of economic chaos. The ensuing economic
upheaval reverberated throughout social, political and cultural arenas. Millions of people
were unemployed. Farmers were hit especially hard, by the collapse of the market and by
the environmental devastation caused by severe drought and dust storms. Farmers also
suffered from the mechanization of farming methods (Preston, 1995; Huang, 1998).
The drought of 1932-1936 severely increased the poverty of American farmers
(Taylor, 1976). According to Worster (1979), droughts had occurred cyclically on the
Plains for decades, but from 1930 to 1936, droughts were especially long-lasting and
intense throughout the United States, and above all, on the Great Plains --Texas, Oklahoma,
Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and New
Mexico. Recorded temperatures of 115 Fahrenheit degrees in Iowa and 118 Fahrenheit
degrees in Nebraska occurred during heat waves in 1934. The most spectacular feature of
the drought was the awesome dust storms
1
, which blackened the sky over much of the
1
Dust storms had occurred in the 1800s, even before any settlements were made, but the problem was
aggravated. According to contemporary Federal reports, the Great Plains had been the nation’s greatest cattle
country, but before the end of the 19
th
century this range had been badly damaged by over-grazing. The land
was heavily invaded by homesteaders, who tried to wring a living from the semi-arid soil (Allen, 1940). The
soil was loosened from the anchor of the grass roots which had held it firm for centuries. The ecological
balance was destroyed. There was no defense against the dry winds of the Plains, and the dust storm began.


Convention
Need a solution for abstract management? All Academic can help! Contact us today to find out how our system can help your annual meeting.
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 5 of 18   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.