Two Sides of the Story
They say that a picture tells a thousand words, but that only applies if the correct thousand words illustrate the picture. Often the illusion created by the picture can be perpendicular to the reality of its meaning. An illusion is said to be something that deceives, by producing a false or misleading impression of reality. This sense of false reality can be accepted by many people who don not have the true understanding of the image. This concept of generalizing tendencies is show by Sally Stein in her essay, Passing Likeness: Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother and the Paradox of Iconicity. In this essay Stein examines the photograph Migrant Mother, taken by Dorothea Lange, and how its illusion of a Caucasian woman living during the Great Depression is completely the opposite of its reality, which is of a Native American woman surviving life in times of the American settlement. Because people become accustomed with their single view point, they fail to see the other side of the story and reveal what is behind the curtain. Stein’s whole idea is based upon that question of illusion and that icon status rips away the reality. I myself comprise of one very specific occurrence, in which the misapprehension that was captured through the lenses of a camera was not the actuality of the event. Last summer while I was in India, I volunteered in an orphanage, there a met a girl named Silie. Silie was eleven years old; she had been brought to the orphanage when she was just a baby. In the picture that I took of Silie at a local carnival, she appears to be a normal happy child, with a loving family and a place to call home. However the reality is that Silie is an orphan, who has been adopted only once by a mother who ended up having to return her to the orphanage from which she came. The series of events that Silie has gone through have scared her for the rest of her life, it not something that one can see from looking at her face. The illusion that Silie creates of a normal
Cited: Stein, Sally. “Passing Likeness: Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother and the Paradox of Iconicity.” Situating Inquiry: An Introduction to Reading, Research, and Writing at the University of Washington. Ed. Angela Rounsaville, Rachel Goldberg, Keith Feldman, Cathryn Cabral, and Anis Bawarshi. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 628-641.