All throughout this week’s readings, this idea of representation kept returning. What interested me most was the link between illiteracy and who was underrepresented—in short farmers and slaves during the 20th century, people who couldn’t curate their stories themselves. However, as time progresses, this idea of self-representation, that if you believe that yourself or a group you belong to has a narrative worth curating, you must do it yourself. Yet the organization of this information gave light into why it was curated in the first place.
A common thread of the publications by the Federal Writer’s Project was this idea of authentic depiction of a group. Much like the Soape’s article, my immediate reaction—easpeically when reading the slave narratives—was that the interviewers would somehow muddle or inaccurately tell a person’s story. However, spending a few minutes on Photogrammar website, I saw this multimodal archive in contrast to the narratives of the Federal Writers Project. In a flash I saw nothing but room for objectiveness or for error on the part of the person trying to capture this moment in time. It seemed to me that it was very inaccurate to stage photographs—in essence its not capturing a still moment, rather captures the idealized art that the photographer is trying to display.
Yet, I realized that there is an art of curating, both for the Federal Writer’s Project and the photographs of the Photogrammar website. I realized that there is a difference between a photographer, and a photojournalist; a difference between an investigator, and merely a writer. Knowing this allowed me to realize the people in charge of capturing and documenting the stories, narratives, pictures, etc. want to depict them in accuracy and with authenticity, but also in a way that is meaningful. What is the benefit of having story upon story, or picture upon picture, without first making sure its something striking, informative, worth reading.