Wk 5- Task 2 Contextual Understanding

Wk 5- Task 2 Contextual Understanding

In the talk of the images by USA photographer Weegee, something that attracted my attention was the captured emotion of the different people in the crowd who witness the murdered body of a gangsta.


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Fig 1. Weegee (Arthur Felig), The First murder, before 1945

“A woman cried… but neighbourhood dead-end kids enjoyed the show when a small-time racketeer was shot and killed” the caption of Fig 1 “The First Murder”. The caption of the image.

In the discussion, they discuss how Weegee managed to capture the “heightened fleeting emotion” of the crowd who consisted of children and women – “The children are gawking at the murder scene with morbid fascination, ignoring the bawling relative.” The writers go on to explain why this image is so powerful and it’s relation to the widespread violence that existed. They go on to talk about the ‘viewers’ and how we are equally fascinated with the image as we see the different emotions on the people’s faces and their reactions.

Their talk not only explains what’s going on in the images but shows critical thinking and visual literacy, something that we are learning about as students and learning to apply ourselves.

“The role of images in providing views of violence, and of voyeurism and fascination with violence is countered by a history of using images to expose the devastating aspects of violence”

What the writers say here that stood out to me is their valid point of how while the image son violence may not be so pretty to look at, it’s been used throughout history in order to create exposure of the effects of violence. This is a relevant point as these types of graphic and brutal images are used throughout todays news and media. It instigates a emotional response and therefore achieves the aim of exposure. The writers recognise this as they state “the power of the photograph to provide evidence of violence and injustice is coupled with the photographer’s power to shock and horrify.”

The voice of the writing is educational as they want to inform their audience on the importance of Weegee’s art and this clearly shows through the way they express information about his art. The writers clearly show a learned piece of writing as they show a lot of knowledge about not only Weegee’s artwork but how images can be powerful tools for portraying the reality of circumstances such as the violence and the odd fascination from the younger generations.

Works Cited

Sturken, Marita, Tara Hamling, Lisa Cartwright, and Marita Sturken. Practices of Looking: Images, Power and Politics. 2001. Print.


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