Shock Advertisement Critique

November 18, 2008

The Chase and Sanborn advertisement for their ground, pressure packed coffee, is not a surprising image for the 1950’s. However, considering its social and political context and the way an audience would view it now, the advertisement is utterly shocking. The image is of a woman, most assumably a housewife, bent over her husbands knee with his hand raised to spank her. The man is faced away from the camera, while the woman’s horror-filled expression is the focus of the ad. Chase and Sanborn begin the advertisement by stating, “If your husband ever finds out that you’re not ‘store-testing’ for fresher coffee…” This image strongly manipulates the viewer and exhibits several social issues that were relevant within the 1950’s.

The image itself may have been borderline appropriate within the 1950’s, however, from a twenty-first century perspective, the article seems sexist and crude. The viewer within the 1950’s was led to believe that the Chase and Sanborn brand of coffee was necessary for the middle-class housewife in order to avoid beatings from her husband. If the housewife was bold or ignorant enough to purchase anything else than Chase and Sanborn and the coffee did not remain fresh, her husband was likely to give her a good smack. This kind of advertisement could instill fear within the viewer and make them subconsciously associate stale coffee with physical abuse. It also asserts male dominance over women by depicting the physical strength of men over women. 

The image also demonstrates several social issues within the 1950’s. Women were still fighting for social equality within America. The audience that Chase and Sanborn was advertising to was assumed to be housewives, although many women at this time were already within the workforce. Although women were growing progressively more social and political authority within the United States, there was still definite inequality within the workplace and within political representation. Although women could work, it was more appropriate for them to be solely homemakers in order to keep the family unit stable. Male dominance was prevalent and it was media images like the one presented by Chase and Sanborn which continued to exemplify this dominance. Also, because the advertisement depicts a younger couple, the creators were advertising the married youth within America. By targeting a younger audience, the insinuations of the advertisement can continue to persuade families as they age as continue to make the company profit throughout their maturity. 

In conclusion, the Chase and Sanborn article not only advertises coffee grinds, but also violence towards women, male dominance, and defines the role of women as housewives.

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Photoshop Project

November 18, 2008

Here’s the compilation of some of the photographs from my autumn leaves photo project.

autumnleaves

 

I forgot to thank my model, Kerry. Ain’t she cute?

Photo Assignment

November 18, 2008

So the theme I picked for my photo assignment was Eva Cassidy’s “Autumn Leaves”. I thought it would also be appropriate because I only had a little while left to get some great pictures of the fall colors. Unfortunately, most of my pictures were in black and white. Way to go Amanda. 

 

01_1109_9110_10kerry0008323-r01-0090008323-r01-0150008322-r01-028There you have it.

Edward Weston was born on March 24, 1886 in Illinois. He was an American Photographer; living and taking pictures in Chicago for most of his young life. At 16, he was given his first camera. Weston studied at Illinois College of Photography in Effington, Illinois and moved to California in 1906. Weston had four children with first wife Flora Chandler in 1909: Edward Chandler (1910), Theodore Brett (1911), Laurence Neil (1916) and Cole (1919) and opened a portrait studio in California. Weston was later inspired by ARMCO Steel Plant in Middletown, Ohio. In 1923, he moved to Mexico City and opened a studio with his lover Tina Modotti. Tina and Edward moved back to California in 1927, where he developed his unique photographic techniques that have made him famous. He began taking pictures of the West and Southwest United States with assistant and future wife Charis Wilson from 1936-1938. In 1946 Weston began to experience symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and died on the first of January, 1958 in Carmel, California. 

Weston was known for his work with shells, vegetables, abstract nudes, and natural rock and tree formations in California and Mexico. His portraits were generally frame filling and sharp. His photography seemed luxurious with abstract shapes and heavy contrast. He was considered a Modernist photographer. Also known for “straight photography” which was the renunciation of manipulation of the photographic process, (i.e. the use of a soft lens, special developing or printing methods). He wanted to capture a realistic depiction of life rather than take more artistic, soft-focused photos like those of Pictorialism, which was popular at the time. 

I respect Weston because of his emphasis on Straight Photography and participation in Group f/64 with other photographers like Ansel Adams, Willard van Dyke and Imogen Cunningham. His photographs have definition and clarity through Weston’s use of contrast and texture. His use of a small aperture, which determines the depth of field, sharpens the background with the foreground and increases the contrast. 

Pepper, 1930

Pepper, 1930

Nude, 1936

Nude, 1936

Oceano, 1936

Oceano, 1936

 

Classic Essays on Photography:

 

Photography and Photography and the New God

by Paul Strand (1890-1976)

The article, “Photography and Photography and the New God” was written by an American photography named Paul Strand (1890-1976). He helped establish photography as an art form within the twentieth century through his modernist theory. He is comparable to photographers like Edward Weston and Alfred Steiglitz and has photographed within America, Europe and Africa. 


The article itself is based on this concept of straight photography and photographic objectivity. Strand distinguishes artists before the Reformation as having been renowned for their work. However after the Reformation, the New Trinity or, “God the Machine, Materialistic Empiricism the Son, and Science the Holy Ghost,” gained the logical focus and artful expression was considered a “waster and a non-producer” (145). With the introduction of the camera, a creation of this new industrial era, some photographers found it necessary to emulate classic mediums of art (painting, oil pastels, sketches, etc.) through photography. This is an impressionist concept; a concept under much scrutiny from the modernist perspective. Strand argues that photography is an art form in itself and must be respected for what it is. The use of mechanical manipulation and deviating the development process to make a realistic image appear like a different type of medium takes away from the natural expression of the photograph. If a photograph is changed in such a way, it is no longer a photograph. 

The article was a little redundant at times and the term “New God” became a bit ambiguous near the end. However, Strand’s work is a great example of modernist thought and theory when it comes to the photographic process. It goes hand in hand with the theory developed by photographers like Edward Weston, and also captures the concepts of objectivity and straight photography. 

 

 

Here is my attempt at an Edward Weston Photograph. This is “Pepper, 2008”.

Pepper, 2008

Pepper, 2008

National Geographic Critique

November 4, 2008

Odysseys and Photographs: Masters from the National Geographic Archives and the All Roads Photography Project at the National Geographic Museum both exhibited exceptional photographers and their portfolios. Two photographers, Luis Marden and Khaled Hasan, have unique life experiences that have shaped their photography and their careers.

Luis Marden, who spent 64 years with National Geographic, was notable for his use of color photographs, both on land and underwater. National Geographic allowed him to photograph all over Central America, South America and the Caribbean. One of his most appealing images is entitled, “El Salvador” from 1941. It depicts the side of a dark skinned woman’s face as she studies a coffee plant. She is surrounded by the trees, the beans, and the white flowers of the plant line her hair. It is as if she and the plant are intertwined and have become one in the same. The picture uses a beautiful collaboration of earthy color: reds, browns, greens, and blacks. The photograph not only holds aesthetic beauty, but also distinguishes the coffee bean and plant as being a staple of South American agriculture and economy. Coffee is therefore apart of the El Salvador culture, and Marden insinuates the beauty of the culture through his photograph. 

Khaled Hasan, a photographer who was the 2008 Awardee of the All Roads Photography Program for his photo “Living Stone: A Community Losing Its Life,” generally uses black and white photography. Born in Dhaka, Hasan’s award-winning photograph was taken in his home country, Bangladesh. It is a close-up picture of a masked man, whom Hasan distinguishes as Kalam Ali, taken in front of stone-crushing machinery. Ali’s face is completely covered except for his eyes, which are vivid and astounding. Because of the contrast within the color and shape of his eyes, the audience’s attention and focus is immediately brought to his face. Behind him, the fast moving wheel of the stone-crushing machine is blurred while the rest of the machine remains focused. This effect creates movement within the piece. 

The life experiences and photographic eye give both photographers an edge within their work. They are different, most obviously, because of their use of color or black and white photography. Marden uses intense color to create the forms in “El Salvador” whereas Hasan creates form through contrast in his black and white photography. Also, although Marden emulated the cultures he was in, he was still not a native to his subjects like Hasan in “Living Stone: A Community Losing Its Life.” However, both photographers attempt to distinguish different cultures in their rawest forms: within the foundations of their social and economic institutions and everyday life.