Saturday, May 30, 2009

Woman in cell, playing solitaire

Photos often carry with them a certain sense of time and place. Here are some aspects that land this in a different time and place than today.

1. The style. This one has a woman with a certain hair style and dress that places it in an era that is not today.

2. The color. That red in her skirt was a natural outcome of photographic processes in the 1950s but we'd need Photoshop as well as intent to replicate that today.

3.The scene. What about this would be remarkable today vs in 1950? Well, a woman in jail in 1950 would have been quite scandalous. Today, we have jail celebrities such as Martha Stewart, quite respectfully, and in orange, not red. Cells have white or grey walls, not blue. But perhaps the cell in 1950 just means she's a wanted woman, not someone who has actually broken the law.

4. The game. Cards in 1950 would have been more scandalous than they are today. Any woman today can play cards, jail or no. Then, cards could lead to jail. Today, she would need to be doing something else.

5. Body parts. Bare legs and an exposed head mean this isn't Amish or Muslim, the two having nothing alike.

6. Body position. One leg crossed means this isn't a porn shot.

This image is from the Eastman House collection and is available on Flicker.com. What a great resource to understand, by contrast, where we are today, vs where we were then.

Where will we be tomorrow? I'm looking as well for the visionaries who can see that.

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