by Elizabeth McCausland. 1939
Some of McCausland’s main points
- The difference between the old use of photography and the new way of thinking, using photography to tell a story and to invoke change as in the Farm security administration use of photography.
- She makes the point that the camera dost nothing but lie
- Using the Photography to tell or give information to the people, giving them a new way of thinking, no longer are we in our own world we are part of something bigger brought to us by the medium of photography, and now with mobile phones and technology, the world has become a small place.
- The censorship that was once present in the media as long since been diluted by the internet and all of the technology we now hold in our hands.
McCausland’s point is still relevant today, the fact that we are bombarded with hundreds of pictures today trying to tell us one thing or the other. It is a wonder we don’t go mad, our mind filters out the weet from the chaff just the same as it does when we are walking along the road or the country path. Then we see something that grabs our attention and holds our concentration. The Farm Security Administration, Dorothea Lange pictures the migrant mother was one of probably hundreds of the pictures. Why was this one chosen for publication and why was it so powerful, it’s my view that this image was selected because as McCausland says the picture must mean something to give Knowledge to the rest of the world and this what this photo does.
Documentary Photography is as relevant today as it was in McCausland’s day she wrote the article in 1939 at the time of change, and all through Lewis Hind had used Photography to influence change for the child workers the thought of using Photography as a medium to inform people in an instance was still relatively new.
Andre Kertesz used Photography in world war one, but the pictures weren’t used to influence the people at the time, for this reason, I don’t think to call them documentary photographs is the correct term. Kertesz photography was personal to him. He did work for Magazines, and in his own style, inflexibility got him trouble with a lot of editors.
One paragraph answer.
McCausland’s article is relevant today because it talks about the power of photography to educate and influence change.