2 May 2012
Women’s power behind a photograph
Photos and images can always help us understand the story behind the subject they’re talking about and the era in which they were taken. In the exhibition “Bound for Glory: America in Color, 1939-1943,” part of the United States’ history and memories is captured in images that provide us of experience and anidea of the everyday life of people who lived in this epoch. In Woman is working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber, taken by Alfred T. Palmer, the story of a strong woman whose life has changed due to World War II is portrayed through the use of the camera angle, the distance from the subject, the selection of the location, and the use of props and the symbolism they convey.
In the process of goingthrough the exhibition’s photos, it’s seen that the camera angle is a resource that helps the viewer to comprehend the photographer’s perception on a specific theme. In this photo, the camera is located at an eye-angled position, which connects the viewer to the subject, as it appears like the person who’s examining the picture was present in the moment it was taken. It also gives a touch ofrealism and personality to the image while complementing the power and strength of a woman who works in a factory where she wouldn’t have been admitted to work at, hadn’t World War II taken the majority of the country’s male population into the war. Being that the camera’s located at the same level of the subject, the viewer perceives not only the realness of the situation, but the certainty of thatthe woman is going through this experience. It helps us to understand that this picture isn’t an edited product, but a moment that was captured in reality.
As well as the camera angle, the distance from the subject takes a significant part of the resources the photographer used, in order to intensify and favor the experience of sensing the situation that has taken place in the photograph. More so,the distance from the subject conveys a sense of presence in the situation that’s been shown, and lets us concentrate in the woman’s actions, which are the main aspect of the entire selection. Not only that, but it also gives both the photographer and the viewer the opportunity of examining the woman’s facial expressions, as well as her body language and her posture at the time she’s working onthe dive bomber. Just as the camera angle did, the distance from the subject makes the viewer feel as if he was observing that woman doing her job. It assures him of the power inside that woman’s body; which is reflected in her using the hand drill.
Furthermore, the selection of the location where this photo would be taken was another technique used by the photographer. By 1943, the world wassubmerged into World War II, and the industrial growth and the country’s great mobilization for the war was evident and inevitable. Men went to the combat zone, and women soon became the main labor force in the States. The fact that the photographer chose a factory where dive bombers were constructed, and women being the ones working there, shows how significant was the drive of an entire country tohelp and be part of the American force in the development of this total war. More than that, as shown in this photo, a vengeance dive bomber was being constructed in the factory by a woman whose husband was probably fighting for his country overseas. This factory, it seems, represents the industrial wave created by the war, and the technological advances that were going underway at the moment.The feelings of necessity, courage, and power are reflected in this place, and the photographer uses this location to portray those qualities and reaction in this piece.
Last but not least, and probably the most important resource used in this photograph, the props used and the symbolism they convey, permit us to have a closer understanding of the picture as a whole. First of all, the woman, who...