Vision of Working Lives

Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum, review the gallery titled  Work Links to an external site. on the website of Steve McCurry and the website  Outcries of a Thousand Souls Links to an external site.  which showcases work of Taslima Akhter. In addition, read the resource  How to Look at a Photograph Links to an external site. . In this discussion, you will examine two photographs that depict working lives within specific cultural contexts.

While both McCurry and Akhter are photojournalists, their styles are very different. Many of McCurry’s photographs are masterpieces of artistry in their composition. The camera’s focus on its subject, the use of light versus dark, and the splashes of color often make his photographs look stylized and posed, more like oil paintings than candid representations of a specific moment. Even when depicting scenes of poverty and war, his work is aesthetically appealing and brings out the inherent beauty of his subjects. Akhter’s photographs, on the other hand, are gritty, evoking not the beauty of her subject but the harsh reality of the moment. Akhter might utilize color, focus, and setting in a unique way, but there is little beauty in the sweatshops of Bangladesh. While McCurry cares deeply for his subjects, he is often an objective observer of human experience. Akhter seems more determined to make a political point, with the goal of social change.

Choose one photograph from Steve McCurry’s  Work gallery and one photograph from Taslima Akhter’s website. Take a few minutes to look closely at each photo, observing the photographer’s subject, how that subject is depicted, the setting of the photo, and elements such as focus, color, light versus dark, and background. Then, compare the two photographs and how they depict “work” differently.

In your initial posting, address the following questions:

· How does each photograph depict working lives?

· How does each photograph depict the culture in which it was taken, including that culture’s values surrounding work, wealth versus poverty, and social class?

· What features of each photograph stand out to you as the viewer and make the photograph impactful?

· Can a photograph that idealizes the beauty of its subject portray the reality of work?

· Does McCurry’s photograph show the truth of work within its cultural context, or does he idealize the culture?

· Does Akhter do a “better” job of capturing the reality of her subject?

Remember to identify the title of each photograph you are comparing.

Your initial post is due by Day 3 and must be at least 250 words in length.



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