Photographic Images And Identity Essay

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Throughout history, photographs have been known to depict and represent culture, character, information, and ideology. Through specific elements of form, and close scrutiny, photographs give a representation of the “bigger picture” by providing content and invaluable information that text, on its own, does not produce. Dr. Carol Payne, a professor of art history at Carleton University, wrote an essay in 2012 for the Oxford University Press. This essay focused on the relationships between photographic images, Canadian culture and identity, and indigenous people. Her thesis was to discuss how an image can present a sense of national identity (Carol Payne 310). Professor Payne’s thesis was supported by examining three specific case studies. First, she investigated how photographs authorized by the Government of Canada have supplied a construction of Canadian identity. Second, Payne showed how photographs support the Canadian …show more content…

In fact, photographic portrayals of first nation peoples were not absent from the Boundary Commission’s archives. One photograph in particular showed aboriginal peoples bowing their heads looking as though they were mourning. This symbolizes and depicts first nations as a vanishing culture (Carol Payne 314). An aboriginal man named George Littlechild recontextualized historic photos taken by governmental and religious organizations of aboriginal people (Carol Payne 314/315). He was part of the ‘sixties scoop’, a group of aboriginal children who were taken from their birthplaces and placed in non-aboriginal foster families. Littlechild reconstructed his family tree using archived pictures. He resisted the Government’s past visual depictions of dominance over Aboriginal people by using elements of form to re-work the material taken by the Boundary Commission with aboriginal symbolism, declaring the recovery of his family history (Carol Pain

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