The Influence Of Photography In The Civil Rights Movement

2154 Words 9 Pages
The South, much like a developed negative, derives its image from the stark contrasts between black and white. The negative and perverted image of the South being fed into national and international conversations resulted from some of the 60’s most iconic photos of Klan activity and African American Civil Rights initiatives. Both groups utilized photography as a means of propaganda and visual conversation with those experiencing and observing the Civil Rights conflict of the South. The Ku Klux Klan promoted community that incorporated local businesses and women into their organization, whilst African Americans often had little say in their depiction in public media. These Civil Rights photos would become imperative in gaining outside support …show more content…
Du Bois in November of 1900, his collection of 363 photos of African Americans did two things: first, it challenged the institution of scientific racism during the Paris World Fair, and two, it established photography as a medium of conversation and data analysis. Earlier photography on African Americans sought to de-humanize them, to create distinctions legitimizing blacks as subservient individuals. While philosophical photographers will argue that all photos are intentionally created and shot, the Civil Rights Movement was full of quick bursts of the camera lens. Scenes of KKK rallies and African American demonstrations are either planned or unplanned, either manipulated by the photographer or manipulated by the …show more content…
In comparison to contemporary photos, the black and white negatives that would develop into the most iconic images of the Civil Rights Movement didn’t need color or expensive gear to capture the static energy within the South. For hundreds of photographers such as Danny Lyon, the goal was to capture every moment of the movement, to leave no stone unturned, no role of film empty or un-developed. The only tools necessary were a camera, film, a little bit of defiance, passion, and a good eye. The perfect shot, the symbol for an entire generation and movement could be a faultless manipulation of composition, or sheer luck of the shutter. Regardless, without photography and the groups that used them, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s would not have developed as the United States’ main focus. If not for the international pressure brought on by the overwhelming number of photos, then the Civil Right Movement might not have succeeded as it did. Photographers are masters of manipulations, and their photos produce the softest of

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