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americorps realism

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This photo, which accompanies this NYT article on the “digital switchover” in the US, is captioned “Danielle Eberhardt, front, and Katherine Daniel of AmeriCorps set up a TV converter box for Laura Wilson, left, in Baltimore.”

There is something at once thrilling and unsettling about this picture… I’ve never been sure about the studium / punctum distinction, but there’s a whole list of points of interest that grab the eye: the rabbit ears of course and what they’re streaming through the set, the khaki shorts of the corpswoman, the double rhyme of the color of the lamp and the paintscheme of the truck and of the off-kilterness of the lampshade and the off-kilterness of the photograph itself (look at the upper-left-hand corner).

Ah, no, that’s not it at all – being too specific about this. It’s the fact the photograph is a bizarre half-echo of socialst realism – technocratic youth come to the workers’ districts in uniform, bringing digital enlightment to the masses! Funny how easy it is for America to wear these clothes, but only fractionally, half-wholeheartedly, and with the framing all aslant….

Written by adswithoutproducts

June 7, 2009 at 8:28 am

Posted in america, photography

2 Responses

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  1. I’d say the most unsettling thing is the intensity of the hug itself, as if to suggest that the two proud young things delivered food in war time through enemy lines, or some such thing.


    June 7, 2009 at 9:21 am

  2. Yeah one has to imagine that the presence of the times photographer and reporter had to have a little something to do with that…. But still, yeah, I know…


    June 7, 2009 at 9:27 am

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