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American History

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Category: Dyxum Photographs
Forum Name: Open Views
Forum Description: Showcase your work and give feedback on other members' work
Printed Date: 10 December 2019 at 11:04

Topic: American History
Posted By: Roger Rex
Subject: American History
Date Posted: 19 May 2019 at 00:10
The http:// - National Memorial for Peace and Justice (edit: link does not work; see working link in the fifth post below), not disrespectfully referred to as the "Lynching Memorial", is located in Montgomery, Alabama (U.S.). It is a memorial for African Americans who have been lynched. The structure consists of a rectangular outdoor plaza that is covered. As you enter you walk among rectangular shaped "boxes" (perhaps metaphorically bodies or coffins) suspended from the ceiling, one box for each county in the United States were there has been a documented lynching (a county is a governmental unit, smaller than a state, larger than a city; for example, in the state of Florida where I live there are 67 counties). On each county's "box" there are engraved the names of the victims. There are four on my county's "box". As you progress around the four sides of the plaza you descend, such that the "boxes" eventually are well above your head. This is a troublesome and thought-provoking place and, as such, I had a very difficult time photographing it. The first two images are simply documentary in nature in order to give you and idea of the place. The last is an interpretative image, reflecting one feeling I had.




Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in.

Posted By: skm.sa100
Date Posted: 19 May 2019 at 01:56
Quite a somber subject indeed. I like the last image very much - there's something ethereal about the vanishing into infinity effect. Might work well in B&W too.

More Dyxumer, less photographer.

Posted By: LAbernethy
Date Posted: 19 May 2019 at 03:19
Originally posted by skm.sa100 skm.sa100 wrote:

Quite a somber subject indeed. I like the last image very much - there's something ethereal about the vanishing into infinity effect. Might work well in B&W too.


Posted By: Bob J
Date Posted: 19 May 2019 at 10:07
Bravo - not an easy subject but well and sensitively handled..

RBJ ~ - Moderation on Dyxum

Posted By: luke
Date Posted: 19 May 2019 at 11:37
Great impression from that place, that you give us. TFS!

PS: I have problems with the link.

Posted By: Roger Rex
Date Posted: 19 May 2019 at 11:56
Originally posted by luke luke wrote:

PS: I have problems with the link.

Sorry (to all), I have re-set it and it still didn't work. Here's a related link: - Peace and Justice

This link worked in "Preview" mode.

Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in.

Posted By: waldo_posth
Date Posted: 19 May 2019 at 12:40
The most recent news from Alabama have been quite disconcerting.

So I really appreciate that Montgomery was choosen for this memorial. Unfortunately your set of images does not give an impression of the overall size and shape. #3, however, is one of the most impressive images of memorials I have ever seen.

Thanks for sharing, Roger - more images would be welcomed by me. Thank you for the link as well.

"Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." (Walker Evans) -

Posted By: Fred_S
Date Posted: 19 May 2019 at 21:05
I concur on #3 as exceptional shot and favourite, but for me #1 has something as well. The shallow DOF combined with the sharp text creates a nice depth and atmosphere, especially in the context of the memorial.
TFS Roger

Posted By: Roger Rex
Date Posted: 20 May 2019 at 15:27
Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

Unfortunately your set of images does not give an impression of the overall size and shape.

I did not take an "overall" shot but the link has an opening image that will give you a pretty good idea.

Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in.

Posted By: owenn01
Date Posted: 20 May 2019 at 15:51
Hi Roger,

I've tried hard and long to think about what I say about these images which, as most of you know by now, is something of a rarity for me!

Why has it taken so long? Well, the first is the subject matter itself in terms of the Memorial; I had no idea that this existed (a failing on my part I know) but offset by the shock and despair that a memorial such as this had to exist at all. Leaving out the images for the moment, the whole site seems to have been both sympathetically devised yet also capable of producing an acute response from those visiting it. The descent into the 'hanging evidence' must be quite something to undertake, knowing each block represents not just a person but the aggregate totals from each County that undertook such actions. There are times when one sees Memorials, collections, historical sites and, yes, even photo exhibitions, where the immediate response is 'How could this have happened?'; closely followed by, in many cases, 'Why have we not learned from this?' As in the Don McCullin exhibition recently, I found it hard, harrowing and exceptionally thought provoking - and, strangely, also compulsive in a way that I considered all politicians and school children should go and see and experience it themselves and, hopefully, learn from it. Perhaps if I visited this then I suspect I would feel the same for it shows a time and a series of actions that none of us should be proud of and should act as a learning experience of the worst kind.

For the imagery, I think you have done it justice and in a respectful way; the first image is so graphic when one knows and understands the story behind each 'block' and the cold hanging of each shape is quite unnerving.

Moving to the second one is made all too aware of the pityingly trivial reasons for the hangings; I liked the use of light here to lead us into so many other stones clearly set with inscriptions for what are. most likely, similarly trivial acts ending in such awful conclusions.

Then we have the final - and, for me, best and most graphic, image. Yes; we loose the darkness of the main area of the Memorial and we have almost a cliche of those souls moving into the light. But I'd like to think it's more than that - perhaps the light indicating there should be hope that people will learn from such buildings and memories; that these actions did not go unnoticed and those affected are, finally, remembered for what was done to them.

It's a fine series Roger and, perhaps, you do excel at this insightful type of work. But one small word of caution - you need to balance this with some uplifting and joyful work at some point for fear of descending into too much personal darkness.

Thanks for sharing these, for raising our awareness of it's existence and for some powerful images.

With best regards, Neil.

My Mantra: "Comment on other's work as you would wish to have yours commented upon". Go on - it's fun!

Posted By: Almazar80
Date Posted: 20 May 2019 at 16:02
These are amazing pictures of a place I have never heard of before. And yet, it really should be better known. Your pictures not only made me aware of this special place, but it made me think, with regret, how hateful we can be as a species, to our fellow human beings. If an alien species went to earth, we would all be generically described as a bipedal species, with a set of cosmetic features that belie a near invariant genetic composition, indigenous to a rock orbiting a main sequence yellow star. And yet, we seem to dwell in the differences. Some go beyond looking and seeing someone different. They see a threat, a monstrosity, or worst. And what they do, in service to their worst impulses, is something we should all find unacceptable, abhorrent. A place that honors people who should be remembered as martyrs, but also as beacons of hope. To the generations here and to come, they serve as a reminder that evil can yet beget goodness and positive change. A place and ideas sublimely captured. Thank you for posting these images.

Posted By: pegelli
Date Posted: 20 May 2019 at 16:50
Indeed a thought provoking set of images. In the first my eye is drawn to the holes below the hanging blocks, in more than one way they are really meaningful. And your third image is a masterpiece.

What also struck a chord with me are the words you captured in the second image, just translate it to what some people are trying to prevent marriages of today and it clearly shows a lot of these people haven't learned enough from history (imho).

Thanks for posting, an inspiring set in many ways.

Mind the bandwidth of others, don't link pictures larger then 1024 wide or 960 pix high, - see here

Posted By: Roger Rex
Date Posted: 22 May 2019 at 13:55
Thanks all for your comments.

Almazar80 and owenn01 - Your comments are poetic, insightful and thought provoking. Thank you.

Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in.

Posted By: maewpa
Date Posted: 23 May 2019 at 01:53
#1 and 3 are great shots, Roger.

#3 is almost too pretty, given the subject, but so is Strange Fruit, done right, and thatís itís power. Really nice shooting.

Paul aka maewpa

Posted By: Roger Rex
Date Posted: 23 May 2019 at 12:57
Originally posted by maewpa maewpa wrote:

#3 is almost too pretty, given the subject, but so is Strange Fruit, done right, and thatís itís power. Really nice shooting. - Strange Fruit in many ways. #3 might seem a bit incongruous given the subject matter. I leave it to the viewer to make his or her own interpretation of my image.

Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in.

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