A Picture’s History Continues…

© Asha-Kai Grant

Growing up in Washington DC, I have been exposed to a wide variety of people who bring millions of different social and political aspects ; however, I could not wait to travel to New York city , to see the amount of freedom and originality each person had to offer. I had no idea of what to expect from my journey to New York , whether it was with my photography, or minor college experience, but I knew it would be nothing other then exciting! By the first day my thoughts were immediately exceeded and true! I have always had an interest in both History and photography , and  being able to show the political impact between both.

Last night’s reading by Deborah Willis in her introduction to: “ Picturing us”, connected both History and Photography in a very profound way. She touched on issues such as self identity and ethnic graphics. One particular image stood out to me featuring Willis’  sister and her receiving two dolls of both white and black race. The introduction discussed a series of pieces but this one  stuck out to me in particular due to it’s messages of cultural pride. Many photographs can sometimes be hard to relate to, and feel estranged to the viewer; however for me both pieces felt somewhat familiar and easily understood. The piece with the black and white doll, spoke a lot to the message of ethnic pride during this time period. I Immediately was drawn to the fact that one sister had picked the black doll , at such a young age ; it was as if she knew who she was and was proud of her culture and race. A lot of times people identify themselves solely from their race, seeing it as who they are instead of what they are. To me this picture is not something to frown upon, but something to admire, because in this image we see one person of such a small youth be so proud of who they are, and their culture.

History is still with us; we see it on our family albums and portraits and the prints we make each day , even though it is a part of our past sometimes I think we over look how much it makes up our future. So far from this program I have learned through our readings and hard work that a picture is much more then just an image, it is a documentation of one’s being. It is a photographer’s canvas, a work of art and it is ultimately a universal language that transcends all cultures and heritages.


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