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Scientific Looking

“Much of the meaning of camera generated images is derived from the combination of the camera’s role in capturing the real and its capacity to evoke emotion and present a sense of the unattainable,” (Sturken & Cartwright, pg. 280). While attending the 60 from the 60’s exhibit at the George Eastman House I was able to view a plethora of photographs and magazines from that particular era. The image I captured was featured in an issue of Life magazine that was published in 1969, with the main feature story being The Love and Terror Cult of Charles Manson and his accomplices. What I found interesting was the selection of images that were chosen to create the background story of how this cult came to be. The images included in this featured story all created intense emotions to the dark and twisted life these people led. “Images are seen as ‘scientific’ when they are held to present accurate, self-evident proof of certain facts,” (Sturken & Cartwright, pg. 286). This is often found in the setting of a courtroom because science can evoke the jury, to convince then of the accuracy and authenticity of the evidence being shown. I think in this case this particular image (along with others used in the magazine) were used to show its readers the self-evident proof of facts to this story, and it also goes to show the role of images as science and evidence that impact our courtrooms, magazines, tabloids, and more.




Great illustration of the concept of the role of the photographer capturing an image, documenting history, and showing evidence of a particular event. This (or any) photograph illustrates a particular moment and place for our visual evaluation whether it’s in the courtroom or as history or an photography exhibit.


Manson represents this really dark and disturbed version of the Communal Hippie ideal – contrast this image with more stereotypical Love Families parading and dancing around the fields and you get a heavy dose of realism as well as this look into the alternative, psychotic version of hippie life. Charlie is still alive today, which freaks me out, to be honest. Helter Skelter.

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