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Culture Photography

The London Milkman

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Photographer Fred Morley staged the famous photo of a milkman walking through the destruction of London after the German blitz during the Second World War.

That’s right – this photo was staged. Morley walked around the rubble of London until he found a group of firefighters trying to put out a fire amidst the fallen buildings, as he wanted that specific scene in the background. Here’s where the story has some variations. Apparently, Morley borrowed a milkman’s outfit and crate of bottles. He then either posed as the milkman or had his assistant pose as the milkman.

While the British government censored images of London’s destruction, it promoted this photo to show the world Britain’s resiliency and a sense of calm.

As writer and photographer Teju Cole once penned: “The facticity of a photograph can conceal the craftiness of its content and selection,” or Bertolt Brecht once wrote in his 1955 book War Primer, “The camera is just as capable of lying as the typewriter.”

World War II was a lesson in propaganda, in Morley’s case spreading awareness through the photographic medium to grab attention.

Marketers can be liars, which in this case proved indispensable to boosting morale and saving lives. Morley’s milkman image worked brilliantly.

Categories
Arts Creativity Photography

Hidden by what we see

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Photo by Wells Baum

The combination of perception and imagination can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. But we strive to go deeper into the details, beyond what is manifest. Said René Magritte:

“Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

The more we look, the more realize what we can’t see. Such ignorance drives our curiosity to identify new blind spots.

What’s unknown remains a haunting beauty.

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Photo by Wells Baum
Categories
Books Culture Photography Social Media Tech Uncategorized

Teju Cole on the flood of images in a mobile-first world

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Photo by Wells Baum

There is a photograph coming at you every few seconds, and hype is the lingua franca. It has become hard to stand still, wrapped in the glory of a single image, as the original viewers of old paintings used to do. The flood of images has increased our access to wonders and at the same time lessened our sense of wonder. We live in inescapable surfeit.

— Teju Cole, from ‘Finders Keepers’ in Known and Strange Things

Categories
Photography Quotes

Teju Cole: ‘Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts.’

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“Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts.”

Teju Cole, Known and Strange Things: Essays

The more photos you take, the more words you write, the most shots you take, the more you have to play with. Quantity translates into quality over time, but it takes a lot of trial and error and a lot of time. Seeking reassurance is mostly time wasted.

Categories
Books Life & Philosophy Quotes

Teju Cole on travel playlists

“The music you travel with helps you to create your own internal weather.” Teju Cole, Known and Strange Things: Essays #books #quotes #amreading #playlist

“The music you travel with helps you to create your own internal weather.”

Teju Cole, Known and Strange Things: Essays
Categories
Quotes

Ralph Ellison on the American experience

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“The values of my own people are neither ‘white’ nor ‘black,’ they are American. Nor can I see how they could be anything else, since we are people who are involved in the texture of the American experience.”

— Ralph Ellison (via Teju Cole Known and Strange Things: Essays)