The purpose of the collection by Dorothea Lange was to depict the life in the early days of camp, a period when barracks were under construction, classrooms were not arranged orderly and the internees led a very uncertain life. The aim of the curator was to catch the semi-tragic life that her subjects led.
Question at Issue
Is the depiction of the life that the women lead as seen in the collection an accurate representation of the state of affairs in the barracks? This question is important because Dorothea Lange was a photographer with zeal, and her work in this collection captured the semi-tragic life in the barracks. As such, it is important to determine whether there was another side that Dorothea did not capture.
The curator made the following assumptions about the collection. Firstly, the curator assumed that the assignment she was set on doing was photographic representation of the day-to-day experiences she was used to documenting. Her assignment with the War Relocation Authority was going to unearth a lot of civil rights violations. Additionally, the curator assumed that the collection would serve only to inform the on the plight of the internees (Japanese Americans). The collection had far reaching implications after it was published (Kant 78).
Implications and Consequences
Several conclusions can be drawn from the analysis of the collection by Dorothea Lange. Firstly, it can be concluded that the Japanese Americans were denied their civil rights in those concentration camps. For instance, there are photos showing Japanese Americans clutching onto their few belongings when they were shifted west. It can also be concluded that the facilities in the concentration camps lacked basic social amenities as evidenced in a photo where pre-school children do not have classrooms in which to study. One point of view was not taken into consideration in this collection. The curator should have considered that this was a time of war. The consequences of this are that the curator presented information that was biased in that it did not show the positive efforts that the government was making, for instance the construction of the barracks and classrooms for the Japanese Americans. This presents certain points of strength and weakness in the collection. The collection depicted the deplorable state of the concentration camps, thereby enlightening the populace through photography. On the flipside, the collection is biased in its depiction of the affairs in the concentration camps. Although the conditions were deplorable in the barracks, it is a far cry from what would have been given that it was a time of war.
In my opinion, Dorothea Lange was a devoted photographer and at times relentless in her efforts. This character denied her objectivity and as such did not report accurately on the conditions in the barracks. This is because her approach was lopsided towards the negative representation of the barracks. As such, the collection does not sufficiently settle the initial question at issue.
One of the concepts being addressed in this collection is the denial of civil rights, even in times of war. This is seen through the forceful relocation of Japanese Americans into the barracks. Another concept being addressed in the collection is the emotional turmoil that the Japanese Americans underwent. This is shown aptly in the display of photographs. These concepts are addressed as a whole throughout the collection.
Conclusions and Interpretations
The methodologies used in creating this collection are appropriate from the curator’s perspective. Using the approach, the curator was able to deliver her mandate. However, in line with the ideals of fairness, the methodology was flawed because it led to skewed results. My opinion is based in the consideration of the failure on the curator’s part to consider the context of her assignment, the lack of objectivity in reporting and the skewed nature of the results (Landman 56).
Point of View
The arrangement choices within the collection embrace different points of view that can be interpreted using different lines of reasoning. It is however noteworthy that the different points of view are relevant to both the context and the collection. Photography helps to capture the prevailing circumstances at a given time. The interpretation of the photographs depends on one’s disposition.
SLU Core Values
Art and more so photography should be performed within confines of values. Top among these is integrity. Even in the pursuit of individual points of view, a photographer should be inspired by the virtues if integrity to also inform fairly. Other values of worth are respect, responsible stewardship, personal development, excellence and community.
The contents of the collection are very informative to a fair minded person. In my opinion, I would change the methodology employed in the collection. It is my belief that the collection would have served another question. Firstly, the approach was biased towards showing the semi-tragic lives of the Japanese Americans in the barracks as opposed to documenting the true state of affairs. In order to serve the initial question, the curator should have been open in mind to consider different possibilities.
Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Judgment. Lanham: Start Publishing LLC, 2013. Print.
Landman, Peta. Ways of Seeing: Looking at Models of Exhibition Critique: [papers from the Museums Australia Inc (nsw) 1996 International Museums Day Seminar]. Haymarket, N.S.W: Museums Australia (NSW, 1997. Print.
Saint Leo University. The First Florida Catholic University: Mission & Values. Available at> http://www.saintleo.edu/about/florida-catholic-university.aspx