The Black Image in the New Deal: The Politics of FSA Photography

The Black Image in the New Deal: The Politics of FSA Photography

by Nicholas Natanson
     
 
This study employs a variety of methodological tools to explore the political and administrative forces that worked against documentary coverage of particularly sensitive racial issues. Moreover, Natanson shows that those who drew on the FSA photo files for newspapers, magazines, books, and exhibitions often entirely omitted images of black people and their

Overview

This study employs a variety of methodological tools to explore the political and administrative forces that worked against documentary coverage of particularly sensitive racial issues. Moreover, Natanson shows that those who drew on the FSA photo files for newspapers, magazines, books, and exhibitions often entirely omitted images of black people and their environment or used devices such as cropping and captioning to diminish the true range of the FSA photographer's vision.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Natanson's agenda is revealed in the ``Acknowledgments'' to the text, where he thanks his parents for giving him ``the courage to resist the formidable winds of Marxism and post-structuralism.'' The first chapter, entitled ``Politics and Culture,'' borders on a testy rant against critical approaches (such as deconstructivist and feminist studies) that differ from Natanson's own. Obviously addressing an academic audience, Natanson discounts the ideas of Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault as well as those of several photohistorians who have published works on a Farm Security Administration imagery. He offers instead a methodology of ``historical framing,'' i.e., contextual analysis. Originally a dissertation, the book offers a bounty of information laced with too much scholarly interpretation for the mainstream reader, although the chapters on Ben Shahn, Arthur Rothstein, and Russell Lee are somewhat more accessible. For academic collections.-- Kathy J. Anderson, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780870497247
Publisher:
University of Tennessee Press
Publication date:
08/28/1992
Edition description:
1
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.03(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.66(d)

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