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Dissenters, 1967

Sturken and Cartwright’s Practices of Looking, explains how images can be used as evidence of events. “Images are seen as ‘scientific’ when they are held to present accurate, self-evident proof of certain facts” (Sturken and Cartwright, 286). The text gives the example of the video that was taken of the beating of Rodney King by police officers in 1992, but there are other ways that images such as these can be seen as evidence (Sturken and Cartwright, 286). Benedict J. Fernandez’s 1967 photograph titled, Dissenters is also evidence of individuals who were present at the United Nations Plaza in New York City in April 1967 for Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech about the Vietnam War. Had a riot broke out on that day, this image as well as others would have been evidence of some of the attendees at the event and could reflect on the mood of the day based on the appearance of individuals in the photograph.




This is an interesting choice to me because of its ambiguity. The people, to me at least, look angry and violent. Only the peace symbols, obviously throughout the photo, show that the crowd was actually supportive of the calls for peace.


Lol. Mallory I should have read your post before making mine. We made a similar point. What is interesting is that the article also indicates that images alone can indeed be evidence, but it is all how we interpret the “evidence.” Kurt has beautifully illustrated this idea- if I hadn’t read his post, I’ll be honest, I would have thought this was a photo of an angry mob. It had to be put in to context before I could properly interpret the meaning of the image.


I also will point out that the interpretation of a picture depends on the background of the interpreter. For example when I saw this picture I immediately thought about the counterculture movements that existed at that time, maybe because I’ve been studying this period of time from a sociological perspective.

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