African Girls and Infant

African Girls and infant_tif328
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2 Essays

  1. Hee-Choon Shin | NORC, University of Chicago says:

    A daughter learns from her mother by following her footsteps, and sharing work, happiness and sorrow along the way. The family is the most important institution in a society. It is impossible for a human being to become a member of a society without family experiences. Socialization begins at home. We learn by imitating our mothers, fathers, grand parents, siblings, and other significant others. A little girl experiences the outside world by chasing her mother’s shadow. In developing countries, a little girl is expected to help her mother. The little girl cleans, cooks, and raises smaller siblings.

  2. Michael Kimmel, Sociologist, Stony Brook University says:

    All photographers face a set of moral and political choices about how to use their cameras and how to represent the people they depict. No camera is a passive tool, simply recording some external reality; cameras have the point of view of their owners. Is the camera a weapon, reducing the powerful to mere mortality (like Richard Avedon) or making the familiar strange and grotesque (like Diane Arbus)?

    Rachel makes a choice to go the other way, in the tradition of more of Dorothea Lange or Eve Arnold, reminding us of the simple dignity and even breathtaking beauty of the people over whom the economic machine runs in the march towards profits. Her photographs of Maasai women or Guatemalan peasants reveal a resilience and grace that is poetic in its simple beauty.

    There is a marked gender difference in the photographs. The women relate to the camera, smile or stare directly into it, proud, tall, and engaged. The men seem far sadder; they look away from the camera, down, to the side, refusing to engage with the lens. Perhaps the toll is greater on them, since the penetration of the global market into traditional life not only displaces them from their land but also upends their traditional domestic privileges. The women may hold up half the sky, but they also seem to have their feet more firmly planted on the ground.