Homework # 2

After seeing the collection of photographs from Carrie Mae Weems’ series, “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried,” I saw how she used appropriation to transform the photos into a whole new meaning. When J.T. Zealy took these photos, it was for a scientific purpose, to prove the theory of racial inferiority of Africans. Weems appropriated the photos by applying a red filter over the original images and adding text on top. From watching the video, I learned that she placed circular mats on the prints to put more focus on the men and women in the photos. She organized the photos in a timeline format to convey a message that blacks were treated as lowly beings and dehumanized over the time. I believe she added the text to create more awareness of the photos’ original intention which will then give the subjects the level of dignity and respect that they never received. Without the text, the audience may not know the stories behind each photo and the level of mistreatment these people received. When I first saw these photos and read the texts, I felt saddened by the way these people were treated. Some of them were forced to take semi-nude photographs and were labeled as a subject in a scientific experiment. Their eyes show how uncomfortable they must have felt.  I think that Weems’ photos are very successful in a way that it reveals the level of racism in America and that she gives the subjects a voice that they never had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *