History, Technology, Photography (Margaret Bourke-White)


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I took a bunch of pictures of photographs at the Margaret Bourke-White exhibition that showed here at Syracuse University early this semester. Bourke-White’s photographs appeared in Life Magazine. Hugely important, they mark out the latter part of the first half of the twentieth century. What the Germans would call neuesachlich, her photographic work grabs at the machine age and technologies in the 20th century in history as marked by the New Deal at home and totalitarianism in Europe. An intimate portraitist, the scale of the oeuvre as a whole is large-scale (industrial), political (Germany, the USSR, USA), and tragic (World War and Holocaust). I’m going to show my pictures of the photographs in 3 groups. This one is the first. The pictures here combine the human figure of men, women, and children, working people and students into machine systems, or rather human figures into a portrait of machine system.


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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