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Linesch 1 Sarah Linesch Dr.

Erin Dietel-McLaughlin Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric, Section 13 11 October 2013 Fighting Injustice Through the Frame The Civil Rights Movement in early 1960s America was a time of injustice and chaos as African Americans began to protest for equal rights and an end to segregation. Charles Moore captured this turmoil visually through his photographs taken during the Birmingham, Alabama protests in May of 1963. These photos first appeared in the May 1963 issue of Life magazine, and have now become some of the most reproduced photographs from this time period. The Snite Museum at the University of Notre Dame displayed five of these photographs, and two of these photographs will be the focus of this rhetorical analysis. In the first photograph, an African American man is shown surrounded by police officers as he is attacked by police dogs, and in the second photograph, three African American teenagers are huddled against a brick wall as they are sprayed with a fire hose (photos are shown in Appendix). By photographing these scenes, Charles Moore hoped to show viewers the injustices that African Americans endured in order to increase support for the Civil Rights movement. Charles Moores photographs are successful in creating support for the Civil Rights movement and equal rights because they draw an emotional response from the viewer through camera placement and editing techniques. Moore establishes an emotional connection between viewer and victim by creating immediacy through his camera placement. In the article Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation, Bolter and Grusin define immediacy as a medium whose purpose is to

Linesch 2 disappear (21). In the photograph of the man being attacked by the police dogs, Moore captures the scene from a distance and at a lower angle, so that the man being attacked is not the sole focus of the photograph. By removing the noticeable presence of a camera from the photographs, the viewer is placed at the scene as if experiencing the event firsthand. The photograph is taken from the perspective of a person on the street who is watching these events unfold, therefore remov[ing] the artist as an agent who [stands] between the viewer and the reality of the image (Bolter and Grusin 26). This technique creates immediacy because the viewer does not see the scene through the lens of a camera, but rather through the eyes of a bystander on the street. By removing the presence of the camera, Moore allows the viewer to experience the event firsthand, therefore creating a connection between the viewer and the victim. This connection between the viewer and the victim draws a larger emotional response from the viewer because the viewer is placed at the scene of this injustice and is able to share in some of the emotions that the victim feels. Immediacy increases the rhetorical discourse of the photograph by making the events real to the viewer, instead of just a photograph, therefore drawing a greater emotional response. Moore uses framing and composition techniques to focus the viewers attention on the emotions of the victims, therefore giving viewers a new, empathetic perspective of the Civil Rights Movement. In the photo of the three African American teenagers being sprayed with the fire hose, Moore uses framing techniques to cut the attacker out of the photo. This technique centers the photograph on the teenagers, thereby immediately drawing the viewers attention to the teenagers emotions. Although the identity of the attacker is unknown, many people assume that the attacker is a policeman or fire fighter. If the attacker had been left in the photograph, the viewer would be concerned with the injustices that were being invoked by those who are seen as heroes, instead of the emotions of the teenagers. Rather than solely focusing on the faces of the

Linesch 3 teenagers, Moore chose to include the stream of the fire hose in order to show the power of the water that is being shot at the teenagers and the pain that this water pressures causes. Lancionis The Rhetoric of the Frame states that the camera work allows viewers to join in the mental exercise of sifting historical evidence (Husler 23, quoted in Lancioni 108). Through Moores camera work, the viewer observes this historical event with a different perspective that focuses on the victims emotions as opposed to the actions, so the viewer gains a new insight to the Civil Rights movement. By creating a new perspective of this historical event, Moores photographs succeed in allowing the viewer to connect to the victims in the photos because human emotions have been connected to these historical events. A counter argument can be made that the purpose of Moores photographs is to show the violence that the Civil Rights Movement caused in the South. Racist people viewing these photos at the time when they were first released may argue that the photos were taken to document the violence in order to negatively portray the Civil Rights Movement, but Moores camera techniques prove that this is not the case. Through his different camera techniques such as framing and placement, Moore creates an emotional response from the viewer that is sympathetic towards the victims in the photos. In order to influence his audience, Moore focuses more on the emotional effects of the Civil Rights movement, as opposed to the historical events, through the use of pathos in his photos. In the article Visualizing Rhetoric, John Jones states that pathos [is] the effect of the speech on the audience. By photographing injustice and violence, the viewer feels sympathy towards the victims of the photos and anger towards the injustices being shown. By documenting the emotions of the victims during these events, Moore gives personality and human emotions to the victims shown, therefore increasing the emotional effect of the photo on the viewer. The rhetoric of the photos intends to produce action or change in the

Linesch 4 world, and Moore does this by creating an emotional connection between the viewer and the victim (Bitzer 4). By creating rhetorical discourse through his photos, Moore wants viewers during this time period to accept the idea that segregation is wrong, which in turn would influence Americans to accept equal rights and eliminate the segregation system in America. Charles Moores photographs were a major contribution to the Civil Rights Movement because his camera techniques focused on the human emotions of the protestors, thereby invoking greater sympathy from viewers and increased support for equal rights. Although the Civil Rights movement ended about fifty years ago, the photos are still viewed today and still possess rhetorical qualities. The article that accompanied the original photos in Life magazine writes, if the Negros themselves had written the script, they could hardly have asked for greater help for their cause (Durham 29). This article reflects a common view during the time that police brutality was beneficial because it added momentum to the Civil Rights movement; a viewpoint that differs greatly from that of modern viewers who are horrified by the injustices the protesters endured. Judith Lancioni writes that audiences assign meaning to a visual text by draw[ing] on their own life experiences as well as on prior aesthetic and rhetorical experiences (Lancioni 109). Viewers in 1963 grew up with segregation and therefore were not as shocked by police brutality as modern day viewers are, because police brutality and segregation are not common in the modern time period. The purpose of the photos in 1963 was to show the injustices that the African American community faced in order to persuade viewers to support the Civil Rights movement. The rhetoric of these photos has evolved since this time, with the purpose now being to persuade viewers to fight racism that still exists in present day America. Overall, Moore is successful in persuading viewers that racism is wrong because these

Linesch 5 photographs remind viewers of how violent and prejudice racism can be, and encourage viewers to fight racism in their own daily lives.

Linesch 6 Works Cited Bitzer, Lloyd F. "The Rhetorical Situation." Philosophy and Rhetoric 1.1 (1968): 1-14. JSTOR. Web. 24 Sept. 2011. Bolter, J. David, and Richard A. Grusin. "Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation." Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1999. 20-50. Print. Durham, Michael. "They Fight a Fire That Won't Go Out." Life 17 May 1963: 26-30. Print. Herrick, James A. "An Overview of Rhetoric." The History and Theory of Rhetoric. 2nd ed. Boston: Allyn and Beacon, 2001. 1-25. Print. Jones, John. "Visualizing Rhetoric." Viz. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. <http://viz.cwrl.utexas.edu/node/70>. Lancioni, Judith. "The Rhetoric of the Frame." 2008. Visual Rhetoric: A Reader in Communication and American Culture. N.p.: SAGE Publications, n.d. 105-15. Print. Paley, Laura. "Charles Moore: Civil Rights Photographer." Some Kind of Sign. Blogspot, 23 Feb. 2012. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. <http://somekindofsign.blogspot.com/2012/02/charles-moore-civil-rightsphotographer.html>.

Linesch 7 Appendix

1963 Birminham, Alabama Police Dogs Attack Protestors

1963 Birmingham, Alabama Alabama Fire Department Aims High-Pressure Water Hoses at Civil Rights Demonstrators