Hiding in the back seat of the Model T, looking at the world: this is what she saw

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CCartwrightJones
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Hiding in the back seat of the Model T, looking at the world: this is what she saw

Stereoscopic images were the broadband internet connection of the early 1900's. Because of the illusion of third dimension, the people who looked at these photographic images had an impression of absolute veracity.  The viewers saw it as truth.  But ... how is truth constructed?

If a single artifact could launch a thesis, this would be that artifact, examining the hundred layers of nuance.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50164213@N02/4639838981/in/photostream/

This is a stereoscope card http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereoscopy of women from Zanzibar posed (by a colonial photographer) to represent how they mutually groomed their friends' hair in about 1900. This is one of those colonial productions that comes complete with full cultural baggage in the imagery and text on the back of the card, but I don't really need to go into that here. If you are a student of black studies, women's studies, anthropology, semiotics, or psychology, let me know and I'll send you the full package.

Please note that along with a lovely illustration of fine corn-rowing, the women have very interesting triple ear spooling in various stages of progress.  They've got some nicely complementary face painting patterns.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50164213@N02/4640446990/in/photostream/

Here's the part that will give you brain weasels ... my grandmother, Marguerite, grew up in the early 1900's in a rural Ozark farm, and one of her few ways of accessing the rest of the world was the stereoscope.  She and her sister would sneak away into the back seat of the model T on Sundays and look at images of the rest of the world (just like this one and more) through the precious family stereoscope. This was the 1912 equivalent of sneaking onto dad's computer without  child minder software.  They had to hide this on Sunday, because it was frivolous, and they were supposed to be prayerful.  So .... knowing that .... and that she was one of million of viewers and there were thousands of images ... what "truth statements" did these place in the minds of the viewers?   How did she and her sister view people who appeared so totally different, but in such a familiar context (combing and braiding hair) and how did this affect their understanding of .... fill in the blank here!

Spellstone
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Re: Hiding in the back seat of the Model T, looking at the ...

Can you pull up any more detail on the face painting? I'd love to see that as a close up.

A

CCartwrightJones
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Re: Hiding in the back seat of the Model T, looking at the ...

Here you are, scanned at 600 DPI

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50164213@N02/4641695249/

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50164213@N02/4641695397/

 

These also show more detail on the ear spooling and braiding. 

Spellstone
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Re: Hiding in the back seat of the Model T, looking at the ...

Thanks for the close-ups, there sure is alot going on in that picture what a gem!

BreellaBlue
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Re: Hiding in the back seat of the Model T, looking at the ...

Those are some beautiful photos! I think it would have given them a deeper understanding of the sense of community that those people had. They were not just neighbors they were close friends.

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