Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: How The Other Half Lives

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How The Other Half Lives

Riis was an early supporter of the power of visual image in journalism. He began by taking photographs of tenements in a new way; which exposed the horrible unexplored world in the slums. The article “Flashes from the Slums: Pictures Taken in Dark Places by the Lightning Process,” describes the effectiveness of the photographs taken by Riis or drawings during the delay of printing. Riis’s work was not just work for him it meant something, he was a humanitarian who wanted to let his well to do audience who the “other half “is.

“Another flash-light picture, though showing only still life, is eloquent of misery and destitution of those with whom imagination can people it, as each recurring night does people it, with the wrecks of humanity that form its clientage.”(p.156)

Many of the pictures taken during the day were fixed, real situations but organized in a way to get his point across, they a lot became his subjects for a photo shoot some may say. When he saw something that caught his eye it was hard not to prepare and pose the subject. This was the reality many people had to live through in the typical tenement; clothing lines, dirty, distressed, full of under cared for children. His work encourged others to not only take interest but also promoted the desire to help change their living conditions.



Blogger A. Mattson said...

Riis was a pioneer in the use of photography to document social problems. These photographs were progressive propaganda for social reform. What is about the photograph that made it so much more effective as a 'fact' then words alone?

2/23/2009 5:09 PM  

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