What do we see when we look at images? We read them, a lot like we read words. We look for meaning in images. But because most of us can’t “speak” or “write” images, we find it hard to explain what the meaning is.
We do feel them though. We say that we react to images, and it’s mostly true because they mostly bypass our consciousness. Not only do we react to images but we learn how to react to them. Watch enough shoot-outs in the movies and we think we know what a shoot-out feels like. We eventually get a little bored and then a new crop of directors have to come up with new ways of getting us to react to them.
Today’s images from 1933 tell a story. Actually, they tell a lot of stories, stories about Blanche Barrow, stories about America, and stories about images. I can’t really explain in words what’s going on here, but the way I understand it, it’s a place where Hollywood intersected with real life in a complicated way that helped some people turn their daily lives into a sort of dream world. Maybe it’s something we all do these days, but these folks were the pioneers, out in the heartland.
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