Discussion Questions - The True Meaning of Pictures.doc

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24 Apr 2012
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The True Meaning of Pictures
Discussion Questions to prepare for writing a critical review of Adams’s photography (Short
Paper #3)
1. Is the documentary a “true” representation of these people? Why or why not? If not, then
what is it a representation of?
The documentary isn't necessarily a "true" representation of these people. The reason being
is that they're being photographed through the perspective of Shelby Lee Adams. As hard as he
attempts to make it seem unbiased he has some sort of relation to these people because they are
from the same culture as him and he attempts to make them into what he wishes his childhood was
like before he moved.
2. Do you think Adams exploits his subjects? To what extent does every photographer exploit
her subjects?
To an extend yes, Adams does exploit his subjects. However, whether it is in a negative or positive
light is up to debate. He chooses to present their lifestyle how he believed his childhood to be.
Though many of the aspects of the Appalachian people haven`t changed he chooses to bring in
certain aspects which or not indigenous to them.
3. How does the documentary position you as a viewer? I believe that we are asked to view it
without context to keep the cultural feel of the documentary and artwork.
How does the documentary want you to view Adams’ work? In a negative light.
How does Adams what you to interpret his photography? In a positive light.
How do the subjects want you to interpret the photographs? In whichever light we
choose because the Appalachian people seem to be the most understanding an
cooperative of all people who took part in the documentary itself.
4. What hegemonic beliefs do you hold that inform the way you respond to this film? For
example, how do your beliefs about class and education affect the way you view it?
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