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Matt Bird English 100 7-3-09 Portrayal of Poverty and Race

Matt Bird English 100 7-3-09 Portrayal of Poverty and Race

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Published by: api-15588504 on Aug 09, 2009
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Matt BirdEnglish 1007-3-09Portrayal of Poverty and Race RelationsPaul Outerbridge was an accomplished photographer who captured the society andculture of the Mexican California border area in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. Using varioustechniques, he was able to make his pictures powerful, catching the attention of the viewer. Hewas able to show how people lived and show what conditions they lived in, and portray it in theway so the people would view his photography the way he wanted them to. Outerbridge usedcolor and light to accomplish his mission of portraying the life of the people in the area, bringingto attention the important issues of poverty and race relations.The
Children with Parrot 
picture taken in Mexico shows two nicely dressed young girlssitting on chairs and a nicely dressed young boy standing behind them. All three of the childrenappear clean, with neat and well-kept clothing and hair. The boy’s hair appears shiny, whichindicates it has been groomed. It also appears that time was also taken to do the girls’ hair. Boththe girls have carefully parted hair, and the one on the left has a ribbon and a decorative hair clip.Though the children take up less than half the picture, the attractiveness of the three kids centersthe attention on them. Similarly, the background shows signs of middle class or even upper status. The garden is well-maintained, indicated by the healthy plants and the hose, and has astone border around it.On the other hand, the
 Loading Fish
picture taken in Mexico shows a sample of theworking class. The scene is on a crowded boat, full of objects and people, and the men appear to be more on the poor side than the middle class. They are working the unskilled blue-collar jobs,and are probably making meager salaries. The men are not dressed in a shirt and tie, as
respectable men did back then, but rather in old and ragged clothing. The most important detailof this picture is the young boy standing near the middle. Unlike the three children in the other  photo, he is at work with grown men. The two photographs show the different lives the upper class and lower class people of that time lived. The contrast between the one poor kid in the
 Loading Fish
picture and the kids in the
Children with Parrot 
picture are vast. To begin with, the poor kid has inadequate attire. He is dressed in worn clothes and despite being on the job has noshoes to protect his feet. On the other hand, the children playing with the parrot are wearing nicedress shoes, despite the fact they are in leisure. Also,
the child at work is not at school or playingwith friends, as kids his age should  be doing. Instead, he is probably earning money to help hisfamily. Additionally, the boy is working in a dangerous environment. He is not only workingaround grown men, the work is probably physical straining, and could lead the kid to havingserious health problems
The comparison of the rich and the poor in the
Children with Parrot 
picture and the
 Loading Fish
picture is evident all through the Mexico and California photo collection. Thoughthe two pictures contrast the social class differences in Mexico, the album also as a wholecompares the poor in Mexico to the wealthy, most of which are photos taken in California. Mostof the photos taken in Mexico are of people walking in the dusty streets wearing old and dull-looking clothing. Others are snapshots of the low-class workers laboring at their low salaried jobs. On the other hand, the images of California do not include the poor. Outerbridge insteadonly included the well-off, portraying the state as a rich place. He even goes further with thisdepiction by taking staged photos of overly glamorous beautiful women with very few facialflaws. Through doing this, Outerbridge accurately portrays the Mexican poor, and makes aneffective but exaggerated statement of wealthy California.
Another way Outerbridge was able to make his photography more effective, meaningful,and hopeful was through the way he used light. In a majority of his shots, bright light, usuallysunlight, is present. Outerbridge does this not only to make his photos more lively, but also for metaphorical reasons. He is showing that situations are more hopeful than hopeless. There washope for the working man, for the family, for child laborers, and for poverty. Analogically, thesun not only shines on the rich kids playing with the parrot, but also on the working class menand the residents walking on the streets. Likewise, the analogy of the light can also be used todescribe the racial relations. Though both pictures show people of different races interacting, it is put in a hopeful sense. Outerbridge is showing that the future is bright not only for the wealthy, but also for the working class and minorities.One of the significant aspects of the two photos is the interracial socializing that is taking place. The pictures were shot at a time when racism was a still a big issue, and non-whites wereunfairly discriminated against. It was still uncommon to see a white person interacting with anon-white. In the
Children with Parrot 
picture, one notices that a white girl, a Mexican boy, anda girl who appears to be a mix of white and Mexican are playing. Similarly, the guys in the
 Loading Fish
picture do not all have the same ethnic background. Included among the Mexicansis an African American or a black Mexican. Both the pictures show the weakening of racial barriers and near the beginning of time when the cry for racial justice could no longer be ignored.Another important aspect of Paul Outerbridge’s photo collection is the use of colors. In both the photographs, he uses bright colors to contrast the duller and darker colors. This contrastis evident among the other pictures of the Mexico and California collection. In the two specific photographs, the white sleeveless shirt of the guy standing in the middle stands out among thedark background and brings the attention to him. In the second picture, the bright clothing of thethree children stands out among the darker setting. One of the purposes of the way Outerbridge

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