Thursday, June 18, 2015

201200018 Dong Yi Kang / Exam Essay / Thurs 5-6

201200018 강동이 Dong Yi Kang 



             The two photographs are similar in nature – they are black-and-white photographs depicting two girls standing. However, they seem to be utterly different with a closer look- the background, the girls' attires, the girls' facial expressions and the overall atmosphere.  With the same subject, the two photographs emit totally different emotions and atmospheres, hinting things about themselves. 

             The first photo depicts girls about ages 3 to 5. Looking closely at the two girls' expression, they seem fearful, or uncomfortable. Perhaps they are not used to the act of being photographed. The small numbers in the left bottom corner hints that the photograph may be a historical record of an exhibition or something similar. The girls have matted hair that do not look as if they have been combed for a long time, and their faces are dirtied with dirt. Their garments seem unnatural, as if they are wearing something that do not belong to them, or as if they are wearing something that were not made for them, but secondhand clothing. Looking closely at the background reveals erect sticks. They are blurred, so we do not know for sure what they are. They may be cactuses, or they may be fences for livestock. The ground seems arid, without a hint of rain. The background hints at where this picture was taken. In the background, what is visible is flat land without any trees, and some buildings in the vicinity. The geographical feature is much like that of the American West, where there are prairies and deserts for miles that it is possible to actually see the horizon. The two girls may be American Indians, or the children of the settlers of the wild west, or the children of the plantation workers, who are not purely Caucasians, by the look of their faces.

             The second paragraph depicts barefooted girls again this time. However, their appearances and the background differ from the first picture. First of all, looking at their background, it is easily noticeable that they are standing on neatly-laid pavements. Though the bricks seem rough, the building behind them seems pretty modern. Another clearly visible thing is their facial expression. They are smiling with ease at the camera. Though the smaller girl seem awkward standing before the camera, the taller girl beams into the camera, and this hints that these girls may be familiar with posing before a camera. One peculiar thing is their attire. The girls' hair seem shiny and well combed, and the taller girl is even wearing a hairband with a large bow, something that any caring mother would love to place on her little girls' head. However, their clothing is strikingly contrasting. The girls' clothing seem as if they were made roughly from potato sacks, or pillowcases. The girls are not wearing any shoes either. Perhaps a sudden famine or economic hardship such as the Great Depression or a war struck the modern town, and their parents could not manage to purchase decent clothing and shoes for the little girls because of the skyrocketing prices or the shortages of clothing and leather. Despite the poor clothing, the children seem to be well washed.

             The two photographs are much similar, and different at the same time. Yet they seem to portray something historically significant. In comparison, the emotions arising from the first photograph are disturbance, discomfort, caution, and perhaps even hatred. The two girls are hunched, like a small animal ready to fight back or spring away. Also, the angle of the photograph suggest that the photographer did not kneel or lower the posture while taking the photograph, so he must have been standing tall while taking the photograph. That may have added to the girls' fear. Their expressions are much weary. Perhaps the photographer did not speak in a language that the little girls understood, or he didn't even ask for consent to take the picture. The emotions conveyed from the second photograph are joy and pure surprise. The two girls seem pleasantly surprised. Judging by the angle of the photograph, the photographer had knelt in front of the girls to take the girls, lessening the vigilance of the girls. The photograph may have been taken by the girls' relative or even their parents. 

A photograph is a truly amazing thing, for it clearly and evidently captures the moment that had once actually existed. It cannot be distorted, and no parts are left out, and the exact expressions, weather, posture, and the details of the background add to the overall impression and significance of the photograph. Appreciating these minute details of the photograph allow us to interpret the lives and the moments that the subjects of these photographs had once lived, and what we have not seen with our actual eyes. 

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