Prof. Nathan Atkinson & Prof. Tim Wyman-McCarthy
January 25th, 2018
Woman Holding Child
Among the many tragedies and unfortunate events surrounding the Second World War exists a transgression that lies inside the United States itself. The aggressive internment of Japanese-Americans from the onset of the war, caused by the bombing of Pearl Harbor is considered a great war crime from the outside world, but is glossed over by American education. In the selected image, a Japanese mother and her infant child in her arms are displayed. Images such as these demonstrate a need for greater accountability in education on wars, where two different stories are told, with the winning side’s stories unfortunately dominating.
Denotatively, the image shows a mother and her child, wrapped up in what seems to be many layers of clothing. The mother is wearing darker clothing with a shawl on her head, and is looking up and away from the camera. The infant, in her arms, is wearing a jacket with a hood, with it up, and is seemingly staring down into the camera. The camera is shooting up into them and the subjects fill the frame. There are no other objects in the frame and they are set against what seems to be the sky. The image is shot in black and white film, as there was no alternative at the time.
Some connotative procedures that are immediately obvious are pose and photogenia. The mother is looking above the camera, and is holding her child protectively in her arms, definitely showing that they have a mother child relationship. However, the infant is in the foreground of the shot, with the mother a bit behind, causing the child to be focus of the shot. With the child in focus, we zone in on his gaze – a defiant smirk into the camera. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact feelings on the mother’s face without background knowledge. With the knowledge that they are being relocated, we can assume that the mother is scared but hopeful. But together with the face of the child, they directly contrast. The child has no knowledge of the situation, and is probably angry and confused and just wants a nap. The mother is looking forward, hoping for a change. This is furthermore emphasized by the color of their clothing. The photographer, while developing, probably seeked out more contrast in the film slides in order to get more pop. The mother’s clothing is definitively dark, if not black, and the child’s clothing is definitively light, if not...