Movie Answers

1. Explain two of the conflicting arguments about “reading” Shelby Lee Adams’ photos presented by the people in the film.  Include the names of the people who spoke about these interpretations.

One of the idea swas expressed by Dwight Billing, who is a sociologist. He claimed that Shelby Lee Adam’s  “portraits tell stories but they are left for the reader to interpret”. Another idea of Shelby’s photography is different. Wendy Ewald,a photographer, caimed that Shelby’s photography is very good, important and contains no made up  scenes. To back up her opinion she gives an example when in 1992 Shelby shoot a picture of the old lady smoking a pipe. That picture wasn’t made up. A critic A. Coleman thinks that Shelby Lee Adam’s photography is theatrical and narrative. Whether or not these people like Shelby Lee Adam’s photography, they all agree that it is unique and powerfull.

2.  When pressed to speak about the social connotations of a photo featuring a little girl in a screen door, Shelby avoids answering the question directly by instead describing the formal composition of the photograph… Describe the photograph in your own words.

I think the picture has a great composition just like Shelby Lee Adams claimed himself. When I look at the picture I see the entire story,  not just the girl standing by the broken screen door. It is ,of course ,impossible to ignore the poor environment that the girl is surrounded by. But just like Shelby said, he didn’t make the girl pose, it was an instantenous picture. I disagree with the girl’s sister who claims that this picture disgraced their family. The focus is on the girl which makes her stand out the most.

3. How do you interpret Shelby’s photos? why?

I think Shelby’s photography is unique and has a story behind it. To my mind, he does an amazing job on reflecting Appalachian people lives. Each picture has a thought that is well expressed. The composition in his photographs reflects the hardships people face. I think it’s important that he photographs a culture that he grew up in. In no way I think that he tries to disgrace the culture or tries to shoot only the dark side of it. The people in the pictures were not taught to pose, so they just what they normally would. It’s not photography about beauty in the magazines, it is much more important topic that sends a message.

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