At the Time of the Louisville Flood

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The image I have chosen is one by Margaret Bourke-White, titled “At the Time of the Louisville Flood”. Margaret Bourke-White was born on June 14, 1904. She first gained recognition as an industrial photographer based in Cleveland, Ohio and worked for the magazine company known as Fortune. She then became one of the founding member for the magazine LIFE, having shot the very first cover of their magazine. Margaret’s name became world-famous for her amazing photographs, even more impressive to have accomplished this at a time when is was a man’s world.

This photograph really gets my attention due to the great irony illustrated in it. When looking at this picture I first take notice to the huge billboard at the back of the setting in this photograph. The billboard has an image of what looks like four members of a caucasian family driving in a car. The family in the billboard all show an expression of happiness and the caption reads, “World’s highest standard of living” and “There’s no way like the American way.” From there my eyes move down to the lineup of people in front of the billboard. The information online (New StatesMan, 2011), states that it is a bread line during the Louisville Flood in 1937. The African American people lined up in front of the billboard are victims of the Flood waiting for food. This is what I find to be irony of the picture, here the billboard states that the American’s way of life is the “world’s highest standard of living,” where directly below we see people lined up below hungry for food. The happier portion of the photograph shows an “average American family”, what it is portrayed to be by the media. The way it was seen is that the American way consisted of “the classic millionaire family”. The lighter colours depict an upbeat tone to the scene, while the dark colours- which in this case would be the African Americans- which emits a more sorrowful tone. The family in the car seems to run over the black people...
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