Sunday, October 14, 2012

"At the Time of the Louisville Flood:" Analysis Exercise 5&6

Title:  "At the Time of the Louisville Flood"
Photographer:  Margaret Bourke-White
Date:  1937
Location:  Louisville, Kentucky

            It is plain to see that a single photojournalist captured the image, this photojournalist is known as Margaret Bourke-White. According to the caption the image was made in 1937 “During the Great Ohio River Flood of 1937, at the height of the Great Depression…” (“Behind the picture:.” 1937). It was originally published in Life Magazine. It is a photograph created by White’s famous large format camera. The caption from Life magazine reads, “During the Great Ohio River Flood of 1937, at the height of the Great Depression, African Americans in Louisville, Kentucky, line up seeking food and clothing from a relief station, in front of a billboard ironically proclaiming, "World's Highest Standard of Living." While this information is crucial to the image one can easily see that these people are suffering. These people are the subject of the picture; they are standing in line in for an ounce of hope whether it be food or clothing. Ironically they stand in front of an “American Dream” billboard. The people in the billboard are white, smiling and wealthy looking. While these folks in line are mostly African-American and suffering from a terrible natural disaster. I believe the purpose of this image is to illustrate the events occurring all over America during the Great Depression. This image touched on both the Depression and the great Ohio River Flood as well.
            In my research I have learned that the photographer, Margaret Bourke-White was one of the first female photojournalists. “She completed college at Cornell and opened her own photographic studio in Cleveland” (Cox Ph.D , 2003). It is clear that White had an eye for the progress and downfall throughout America. Also, she was hired as “became one of the first group of photographers hired by Life(Cox Ph.D , 2003). White’s importance grew rapidly in the photo-journalistic and visual world. Her images had audiences captivated, curious and concerned with the issues she covered. According to Life Magazine that picture has, for generations, been the Great Depression photo, somehow distilling in one frame the anguish that defined the economic cataclysm of the Twenties and Thirties.”(“Behind the picture:.” 1937). I believe this to be true because of the emotion, irony and setting of the image being so strong.

Works Cited:
Behind the picture: Bourke-white's American way photo and the flood of '37. (1937, 02 08). Retrieved from

Cox Ph.D , P. (2003, January). The digital journalist. Retrieved from

Susan Goldman, R. (1999). Margaret bourke-white : her pictures were her life . New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams.
(Susan Goldman, 1999)

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