From the series Mad Men, an ad pitch for the Kodak Carousel product: This provides an introduction to considering the role of nostalgia in a photograph’s appeal (as well as the role of nostalgia in this television show’s appeal.) By the way, also be sure to notice the style of photography in the filming of the show as well. How many times do they use the silhouette?
Look at the following iconic photos from the March on Washington, 1963.
(for quick reference, from History.com: On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 Americans gathered in Washington, D.C., for a political rally known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Organized by a number of civil rights and religious groups, the event was designed to shed light on the political and social challenges African Americans continued to face across the country. The march, which became a key moment in the growing struggle for civil rights in the United States, culminated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a spirited call for racial justice and equality.)
Consider how each of these photos tell a story and specifically focus on “who” is in the photo, “what” emotions and ideas are expressed, and “how” the photographer made artistic choices.
Does nostalgia play a role in how we see these photos?
Do any other “filters” play a role in how we see these photos?
Look at the images slowly and choose one (other than one with King actually in it) which best conveys the emotions and ideals inspired by King’s presence in Washinton? Share your ideas about your “reading” of the photo and how it signifies that important event in history.
Here is the background story to one image that does this.