Sunday, 30 November 2014

Urban Poverty

The above picture is taken from a collection of photographs of a Mrs Ella Watson, taken by renowned photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) who wanted to document the African-American experience in Washington D.C. This photograph was taken at dinner time, as the collection followed both her public and private lives to draw attention to the multiple roles in her life, and depicts a busy room full of children. We can see Mrs E. Watson feeding one child on her lap, with two more sitting at a small, cramped table and feeding themselves. In the mirror there is a reflection of another, older, child who is watching on. as if supervising.

Mrs E. Watson would go to work at 5:30 p.m. and clean offices, halls and toilets before returning home at 2:30 a.m. From the photograph we can see how cramped life was for them. Despite having a stable job, Mrs E. Watson was still forced to live with her family, which included five children in total, which she supported on a salary of $1,080 a year in a cramped apartment.

Above we can see a similar image. An African-American family with a small living space and a lot of children. This image depicts a life so similar to Mrs E. Watson's and her family's that it is almost impossible to believe that they're over seventy years apart.

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