Contrasts between the Children and the Backgrounds
June 18, 2015
201002623 Lee Jaehwan
Intermediate English Writing (1)
We all know that children do not—or, cannot—hide their emotions; they smile when they feel good, and frown when they feel bad. The photograph (Picture 1) on the left is about two Pima Indian schoolgirls and was taken allegedly around the year of 1900. The other one on the right (Picture 2,) taken by an unknown photographer in 1910, shows two British girls in Liverpool. Both photographs were taken about the same time, and place two girls in the center of its focus. However, the emotions that each of the pictures convey are quite different mainly because of the facial expressions and the backgrounds.
In Picture 1, there are two Indian (Native American) girls standing. Even though the photograph is black and white, we can notice that they are wearing colorful one-piece clothes that look like what they wear on occasion—one with blue-ish color with white dots and white seams, and the other with vertical stripes of various colors. Their facial expressions seem to be unsatisfied for some reason. The girl on the left gives a very unkind look to the camera, and the other on the right slightly frowns. In addition, the background seems to be a barren, dusty field with some tall stakes stuck on it. We can`t find any vegetation on the background, except the objects far behind that are too blurred to see what they are.
In Picture 2, there are two British girls standing with their backs toward the wall. The girls are wearing very simple-looking clothes without any decorations—one has a dark color while the other is simply white. Also, they are both barefoot. As to their facial expression, both of them smile, showing no unkindness or hostility toward the camera. The background is mostly made up with bricks both on the wall and the ground, which gives us a stark, urban feeling. There is no vegetation on the background either, making it look starker. Furthermore, the wooden (or stone) structure on the right and the top suggests that the kids are very short in height.
Both Pictures 1 and 2 depict the girls of similar ages. All of them are small and do not look like teenagers. The girls in Picture 1 show unkind and, to a certain extent, hostile impressions toward the camera, making the atmosphere very rigid. On the other hand, the girls in Picture 2 make the atmosphere soft by smiling and looking friendly. Interestingly, these emotions give quite contrasts between the atmosphere and the tones of the backgrounds. On the background of Picture 1, it has a bright tone since the ground and the sky provide lightness to it. On the background of Picture 2, contrasting to the girls` smiley faces, it looks very stark and urban without any vegetation. Also, the stony color of the bricks makes the overall tone somewhat darker.
In conclusion, Both photographs are interesting because the expressions of the characters do not match well with the tones and colors of their backgrounds—it is almost ironical. One depicts angry, frowny girls with its background all bright and sunny while the other one features girls brightly smiling with its background so gloomy and stark. This sort of an irony let the viewer wonder about what actually happened to those children and what situations they are under.