Homework # 2

In Carrie Mae Weems’ series, “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried,” Weems uses appropriation to modify the images taken by J.T. Zealy. Having seen one of the photographs of J.T. Zealy’s titled Jack from the 1850’s, I had an idea where this set of artwork was leaning towards. It portrays sadness, darkness, helplessness and focuses around a ‘scientific subject’, which happened to be slaves during that era. In Weems’ series, her appropriation shows more than just a picture but rather instills a story behind it. She changes the color scheme from black and white to a deep red that makes the images look more powerful. Her use of the color red deeply captures the attention of the audience. As far as being able to read the text while observing the image, I feel that it can be done. The text serves to enhance the experience and gives the viewer something to think about while looking at the work. Without the text, the images may seem mysterious but may also give the viewer slightly more freedom to ponder what the subject may have been feeling when the image was taken. It may be more open to differing opinions without the text. However, with the knowledge that this took place in the 1800’s, we cannot overlook the discrimination and racism that happened during this time. I think Weems’ photographic project went outside the box and captured what I feel these subjects in the picture are feeling. She delivers short powerful messages with a bit of empowerment.

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