Photography’s Cyclical Nature – Anaheim/Boston & Louisville/Little Rock

There have been two stories in the last week that have clearly illuminated the historic power of photographic imagery, especially when it comes to quickly evaluating where we are as a nation, versus where we've been. On Sunday, a planned KKK rally in Anaheim, California yielded the photograph on the left, from Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times. Unfortunately, it's not the first time people have been stabbed with an American flag. When contrasted with Stanley Forman's famous photo of the attack on Ted Landsmark in Boston, from 1976, it's easy to wonder what exactly has changed in the last forty years.

[Sunday's photograph from Luis Sinco in Anaheim, and Stanley Forman’s photo of the attack on Ted Landsmark, in Boston, 1976]

This morning, Atlanta-based activist & journalist Shaun King combined two photos: Will Counts' famous photograph for the Arkansas Democrat of Elizabeth Eckford attempting to enter Little Rock School on 4th September, 1957; and a photo from the Facebook feed of a young man yelling at a black student from the University of Louisville attending a Trump rally in Louisville on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016.

For context, there's video footage of the student being shoved out of the rally, not by security or Secret Service, but by Trump supporters themselves. And the TV screen photo came straight from the young man's Facebook feed.

[Shaun King's diptych of photos from Will Counts & Joseph Pryor]

From WLKY's report on the rally:

"Trump spoke for about 30 minutes to a rowdy crowd... At one point, a woman could be seen being pushed by people in the crowd until she left. WLKY spoke with the woman on the phone Tuesday night. She said she is doing well. She is just trying to process everything."
An activist who attended the rally said:

"In my entire life I had never had anyone look at me with such hate. It was like the videos and photos we've seen from the Little Rock 9 and other school integration moments from the 1950s and 60s where the fury was palpable in the eyes of the white women," said Helm."
[Editor's note: I wrote a piece on Sunday that highlighted the similarity between the Sinco & Forman photographs for Vantage on Medium. - MDM]

2 Responses to “Photography’s Cyclical Nature – Anaheim/Boston & Louisville/Little Rock”

  1. Rick B Says:

    Interesting how the context for photos can be so different when they look so similar. Do you have a photo of the bleeding KKK member a few minutes later. Or the protester evicted from a Clinton rally. No – these photos communicate a position on issues. That’s free speech, but don’t confuse it with factual representation or journalism.

  2. ACP Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Rick!

Leave a Comment

six + 2 =