scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question
Book

Life's America: Family and Nation in Postwar Photojournalism

01 Jan 1994-
TL;DR: Kozol as discussed by the authors examined how "Life" normalized the affluent nuclear family and supported middle-class consumption by defining the family as much by their possessions as by their conformity to traditional gender roles.
Abstract: As the first periodical to present news stories through photographs, "Life" appealed to middle-class Americans as they faced the conflicts and the rapid changes of Cold War society. "Life's" photo-essays rendered such pressing concerns as world and domestic politics, labor disputes, civil rights protests, and social and economic mobility as human interest stories. By focusing on families, these stories portrayed major social issues in terms of personal achievement and adherence to particular values. Shaping a reassuring portrait of America, Life depicted the ideal family as white, suburban, and middle-class. For one representative feature story, the cover photograph shows an unfinished house in which a kneeling woman embraces two blond girls, and a man in a business suit protectively holds a toddler. The caption reads, 'Family Buys 'Best $15,000 House.' The cost of the house suggests this is a middle-class family with a bright future. The celebratory picture of this family with a bright future reveals no hint of the political and economic instability of the era. Wendy Kozol's readings of such photographs and their accompanying texts show how "Life" normalized the affluent nuclear family and supported middle-class consumption by defining the family as much by their possessions as by their conformity to traditional gender roles. Photo-essays about other social groups also focused on nuclear families and the quest for the 'American Dream'; minimizing the differences between social groups and experiences in this way enabled the magazine to present middle-class culture as a nationally shared ideal. Using feminist and cultural studies perspectives, Kozol considers how layout, composition, lighting, framing, and subject matter influenced "Life's" representation of domestic ideology. "Life's America" examines the production of visual images that for generations captured the essence of American culture and shaped photojournalism. Author note: Wendy Kozol is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Oberlin College.
Citations
More filters
Book
01 Jan 2003

250 citations

Book
23 Jun 2021
TL;DR: In this paper, Stock Images as Cultural Performances and Rhetorics of the Overlooked: On the Communicative Modes of Stock Images 7. The Realm of the Info-Pixel: From Stock Photography to Visual Content Industry 9. Conclusion 10.
Abstract: List of Reproductions Preface 1. Introduction: The Making of Ordinary Images 2. From the Library to the Bank: The Emergence of Stock Photography 3. Shooting for Success: Stock Photography and the Production of Culture 4. The Archive, the Stereotype and the Image-Repertoire: Classification and Stock Photography 5. The Image of Romance: Stock Images as Cultural Performances 6. Rhetorics of the Overlooked: On the Communicative Modes of Stock Images 7. And God Created Photoshop: Digital Technologies, Creative Mastery and Aesthetic Angst 8. The Realm of the Info-Pixel: From Stock Photography to the Visual Content Industry 9. Conclusion 10. Sources and Bibliography

110 citations


Cites background from "Life's America: Family and Nation i..."

  • ...…1990), the institutional contexts and cultural meanings of news and documentary images (Hall 1972; Sekula 1982; Tagg 1988; Lutz and Collins 1993; Kozol 1994) and art photography (Krauss 1982, 1984; Bolton 1989), the relationship of photography to positivist science and romantic aesthetics…...

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
Carolyn Kitch1
TL;DR: The authors analyzes vingt-cinq magazines nationaux de consommateurs representant un large eventail de sujets et dinterets, l'etendue chronologique allant de periodes courtes - cinquieme anniversaire par exemple - a des periodses depassant le siecle.
Abstract: L'A. examine comment les medias journalistiques americains celebrent leurs propres anniversaires d'une maniere qui leur permet de definir la memoire nationale et de se positionner comme historiens publics. Il analyse vingt-cinq magazines nationaux de consommateurs representant un large eventail de sujets et d'interets, l'etendue chronologique allant de periodes courtes - cinquieme anniversaire par exemple - a des periodes depassant le siecle. Malgre la diversite des contenus et des publics, l'analyse revele une similitude frappante dans la representation du passe par le journalisme populaire. Ces magazines utilisent un langage, des types, structures et themes d'articles similaires, dans des recits depassant l'histoire individuelle des publications. A partir de ces exemples, l'A. identifie et discute quatre strategies rhetoriques a travers lesquelles la presse anniversaire associe le passe du magazine a celui de l'Amerique, participant a la creation de la memoire nationale et affirmant l'autorite culturelle du journalisme. De ce point de vue, le magazine, en meme temps qu'il est texte journalistique, en tant qu'objet memoire, est egalement un artefact de la culture materielle memorisante.

87 citations

Book ChapterDOI
TL;DR: The Kodak Hula Show souvenir album as mentioned in this paper is an example of the confluence between representation, consumption, photography, and identity, recorded in Hawaii according to the liner notes, documents a key component in a Hawaiian vacation-seeing a "hula show".
Abstract: The Kodak Hula Show-event, tourist site, product promotion, record albumserves as an example of the confluence between representation, consumption, photography, and identity. This souvenir album, with a beautiful color photograph of what must be the Kodak Hula Show on the front and specific instructions for performing a hula on the back, recorded in Hawaii according to the liner notes, documents a key component in a Hawaiian vacation-seeing a “hula show.” The cover captures the show in full swing, under swaying palm trees framed against a bright blue sky, complete with a few puffy white clouds. On what appears to be an impromptu stage-with a grass shack and a longboat canoe for a backdrop-musicians in bright Hawaiian dress play guitars for the stars of the show. Five women form one line of hula dancers, each wearing a full and flowing bright green “grass” skirt and two yellow flower leis that hang down past their waists.

81 citations


Cites background from "Life's America: Family and Nation i..."

  • ...Several theorists suggest that photographs may be read like texts (e.g., Barrett 1991; Barthes 1981; Kozol 1994; Scholes 1989)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The media hype around the Simpson case exposes how narratives of domestic violencenews stories, movies, and the like reveal a struggle to maintain Americans' most cherished national values and beliefs in the face of social conditions that challenge them as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: A MERICAN NATIONAL MEDIA are continually rediscovering (and forgetting) the problem of domestic violence that pervades American homes, despite their own coverage of this topic since the 1970s. During the first weeks after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in June 1994, for instance, commentators discussed the prevalence of wife battering as they attempted to contextualize the crime. They claimed that this murder would serve as a national referendum about domestic violence, much the same way that the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings supposedly brought sexual harassment to the fore.1 In subsequent weeks, however, reporters lost interest in the social ramifications of the case as the legal wranglings surrounding it absorbed most media attention. Instead of raising awareness about power relations as it once promised, media hype around the Simpson case exposes how narratives of domestic violencenews stories, movies, and the like-reveal a struggle to maintain Americans' most cherished national values and beliefs in the face of social conditions that challenge them. News reports and talk shows about the Simpson case function discursively to construct imagined communities for viewers that rely on and in turn reproduce a shared national identity (Anderson 1991). The mainstream news media's obsessive coverage of this case indicates that the

64 citations


Cites background from "Life's America: Family and Nation i..."

  • ...Images of white, middle-class families living in the suburbs have become national icons on the pages of Life magazine and on television programs from Father Knows Best to Family Ties (May 1988; Spigel 1992; Kozol 1994)....

    [...]