The FSA's photos visually captured the harsh reality of poverty for migrant workers, sharecroppers, and small farmers in the 1930's. These pictures made no attempts to sugarcoat the meager conditions of poor, rural farmers. President Roosevelt consciously aimed to pull the heart strings of those in the middle class. He purposely placed photos in specific magazines and newspapers that were typically read by middle class Americans. Roosevelt's efforts were aided by many photographers who staged photos to ensure that rural families looked especially pitiful. In some instances several photos where taken in order to make certain that the subjects had a particular appearance, usually one of extreme poverty and scantiness. Through photos Roosevelt was able to have an effect similar Jacob Riis in the 1890's. The pictures of destitute mothers, fathers, and children reveal far more than any editorial, article, or oral account.
Even though many of the photographs used were manipulated to ensure popular support, they served their purpose and caught America's attention. The carefully constructed image of poor farm families and tactical distribution of photos to certain groups, were the two key components that gained rural farmers sympathy and temporary relief through the FSA. Although, the FSA's career was short-lived they were able to show images of impoverished rural farmers to millions of Americans. It was not by chance that certain photos were used to depict the lifestyle of rural farmers... [continues]
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