Official Grades & Happy Summer

Walker Evans, Luna Park Sign, Coney Island, 1928-29. Courtesy

A short note to say your grades are posted on Blackboard. Please check your grade center on Blackboard to look at your grades and final grade average. There are separate columns for the final exam, paper grades, homework and two parts of the group presentation. Scroll to the right to find the final grade average and letter grade columns.

Please note that it is now TOO LATE to submit any make-up work or extra credit.

The letter grades will be posted on CUNYFirst shortly.

Wishing everyone a wonderful summer!

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Kimberly Vargas: Homework #3

At a first glance, Robert Capa’s photograph “Death of a Loyalist Soldier” is very shocking but there is something about it that could suggest that it was “staged”. It is perhaps because of the angle and the position of the soldier that suggests a certain kind of fakery. His pose seems a bit forced, unnatural, and in a way, rehearsed. When someone is being gunned down, they lose their balance completely. The fall and they are seen in obvious pain. However, this picture doesn’t reflect that. This picture reflects a man that seems to be kneeling down with his eyes closed. There is almost no hint of supreme pain on his face and that is what leads me to believe that it was staged. A lot of controversies rose after the photo was released but as clearly argued, people had good reasons to believe so. Nonetheless, Robert Capa’s photo was impacting and it certainly became a reminder of the real struggles in the battlefield. Soldiers had to face even worse things so for something like this to be released, was at least a start for people to become more aware and conscious of the truth behind the war.

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Kimberly Vargas: Homework #4

The exhibition “The Americans” from Robert frank’s book was very intriguing and mesmerizing. It had a wide variety of photos that Robert Frank had taken during his life as a photographer. His main goal for the book was to capture America in every little detail. This extended from the faces of ordinary people to the faces of the rich and popular. In a way, it was a raw and honest view of the common people of America. It took him about one year to travel through the entire country so that he could capture all the natural landscapes and the everyday life of the people. The book had a huge impact on the United States. As a matter of fact, it became so popular that soon enough, it was everyone’s topic of discussion. Controversies began over the fact that some people looked bored or distracted in their pictures. In a way, it was criticizing how American behaved. However, the purpose wasn’t to shame anyone, it was to bring a real perspective of ordinary lives. As human beings, we’re not always smiling and Robert Frank was able to capture this truthfulness. Instead of having people pose and smile, he captured them in their natural state with their natural emotions. The most popular photos were the ones taken in the south where segregation and racism could be easily observed. The one that I liked most was the one where people are inside the bus and you can see how the black people are sitting in the back. There is a woman facing the camera directly and one can almost feel the judgement in her eyes. She looks far beyond serious.

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Robert Frank, The American

After warching the video about Rober Frank, named the American, I was able to see his point of view about American society. He focused his photographs in ordinary people, people that were suffering in our society during 1950s. In the photographs we saw a lot people who were emotionally bored, depressed and with a lot of stress. Part of this, because of the segregation and racism in the south of the country. His photographs all were amazing and very different from others that we usually see in todays world.

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robert frank the Americans

The exhibition tour of robert frank’s book called the americans was very interesting and many different variety of photos that robert frank took during his life as a photographer. His goal for his book was to capture america, it was a raw and honest view of the ordinary people of america. It took him one year to travel coast to coast so he could capture landscapes and people living in their everyday life. The book was critical of the united states, most people in the photos either looked bored or distracted. It wasn’t propaganda it was robert frank’s perspective of the america, how he viewed it. They were all natural photos. There were very unfamiliar photos in the exhibit because there wa only eighty-three photos published in his book. Most of robert frank’s famous photos were the ones taken down south, where there was high forms of segregation and racism. The photo that i found most interesting was the one with the african-american women holding the white baby. He was in shock that the mother of that child would not sit with that lady at the lunch table but instead let her hold and watch her kid. He was trying to show the country as a whole. He used different angles and cut out parts of people’s body.

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Robert Fran’s America

After watching the video on the exhibition of Robert Frank’s photographs that were not included in Robert Frank’s book. I think Robert Frank is artistic in a political way, the way he takes photos of ordinary people expresses all the feelings of the person while they do their work tells the story itself. His photographs had a natural feeling of everyday life. When we look into his work deeper it does not look like any of his work was staged. In some of the photos we see people depressed or not happy at the moment because most of the photos were taken outside and of ordinary people while they were doing daily tasks. Frank took a journey across the country to get an idea of what everyone in America was experiencing after World War II. Most of his photographs were bleak, they held very deep meaning and a lot of them had separate residential and work environment due to their different color people. Just like we saw a photo in the class where a dark color lady was holding and looking after a white/light skin child but she will never be accepted to sit and dine with that family or to travel with them and sit in the seats next to them. Frank showed interest in the southern areas through his photographs that were taken before the Civil Rights movement, many of his photographs were focused on racism as I talked earlier about the dark skin African-American lady and the white child

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Robert Franks: The Americans

After watching the short video on the Exhibit in Stanford of the photographs that were not included into Robert Frank’s book, what I took from all of it was that his style of photography was very clever and was also very honest of the everyday life as an American. The reason I say Robert Frank’s photographs were clever is due to the fact that he took photographs of one person or maybe two people, using certain angles and objects that cut out parts of the peoples bodies, as a method to make them look desolate, even almost dismal. Robert Frank utilizes many types of styles in his photographs, but the style used the most is bleak, non of his photographs have a sense of propaganda. They’re not staged, they are all completely honest and they show the true emotions of the people doing their everyday tasks. Although maybe many of these people may be very happy, the technique used by Frank makes the people look as if they’re dreading their lives. Lastly, the photograph that stood out the most to me was the one of the two people blocked out by the American flag, this photograph makes it seem bleak due to the angle used, however, maybe both of those people were smiling and happy.

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Homework #4: Robert Frank’s America

After watching the video on the exhibition of Robert Frank’s photography book The Americans (1958) and the photographs that did not make it into publications, I believe that Robert Frank is artistic in a political way and finds a unique type of approach to display his pictures. He captures everyday things that people were doing which told a story for itself. His photographs had a natural feeling to them and it was clearly not staged. It is basically everyday people doing everyday routines. It was an eye opener to what people outside of America believed American lives were like. Some of these images may have changed the outlook on life in America. The America that he was displaying was a very different perspective from what the news media was showing. For example, many of his photographs displayed racism. There are some photos which show colored people sitting on the back of the bus while white people sat in the front of the bus which depicted a racial segregation. Then, there was a photo from down South where a colored woman is holding a white baby and it makes many people wonder how a white person can trust a colored person to take care of their child, yet there is still a segregation because of their skin color. Overall, I feel like Frank’s photographs was an eye opener to many people because he did not stage photographs, but he took photographs in their natural element which spoke for themselves.

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Homework 4 Robert Frank Americans

The themes in Robert Frank’s The Americans were artistic, bleak, and political; therefore it was a realistic depiction of America. Through his photographic book, Frank showed the world how complex it is to be an American. Frank addresses the feelings of Americans that many people did not bring awareness to. When photographing, Frank traveled through American, capturing images of people living their lives participating in routine activities. The subjects in Frank’s photography are not staged. People are photographed in their true mental and physical element. Frank did not cater to the popular view of America at that time nor was he concerned with going against the grain. Many newspapers during that period only showed images of happy Americans. The American according to the newspapers and magazines were totally different from the American that Frank was showing. Franks photography is similar to modern day photoshop of a picture. Today we have many photographic technologies that can make a photographic subject seem happier or more beautiful. The mood of the room can even be altered to make it appear more uplifting. In Frank’s period, magazines were focused on showing the positivity of the world. They were simply photographers rather than photojournalist. A photojournalist is not concerned with how the picture will appear to people or how people will perceive the photograph. A photojournalist’s priority is capturing the truth. It takes a level of skill and artistic ability to capture a picture with artistic value without staging the scene. Of course Frank’s photographs will be bleak and political at times because that what it means to be an American. Americans are versatile. Americans may be disinterested at inappropriate times and they may express their political views out of turn however that is what it means to be American. In order to fully depict an American, one must include artistic, bleak, and political photographs if it was anything less than it should not be deserving of such a title as The American

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Extra Review Material for Photographs on Final Exam

William Eggleston, Greenwood, MS, 1970

Please note that I have revised the short list for the Final and deleted a few images (the Bechers’ Gas Tower and Serrano’s Piss Christ).

Since I will not be able to cover much of the remaining material in-depth,  I am posting some video and audio clips about the following photographs.

On Eggleston’s importance in elevating the status of color photography and his interest in the banal (a good word to look up!)

William Eggleston, Greenwood, MS, 1970

Two Important examples of the Pictures Generation and the use of appropriation

Prince’s appropriation of other photographs:
Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboys), 1993

Sherman’s appropriation of “B movies” for the Career Girl character in Film Still #21:
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still, 1978

An important Post-Modern artist who uses the strategy of appropriation

Carrie Mae Weems, Diana Portraits, from the Sea Island series

Although I deleted the works by the Bechers and Serrano, if you are interested in getting an idea of their work,  you can watch these two videos.

On the Bechers, see this San Franciso MoMA video.

For Serrano, you can watch his slide lecture here.

The Final Exam is on Tuesday 5/23 at 10 AMlast announcement, please arrive on time. For the terminology on Part IV, please see the .


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