The Social Landscape


Visualyzing Photo History infographics now due on Scalar!
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Lisette Model, Singer at Café Metropole, New York, 1946.











In 1983, director Agnés Varda directed a French tv series called "One Minute for One Image" in which she offered her thoughts and musings on some of her favorite photographs.

  • Guests were also invited to participate
  • Artist Micol Hebron has recreated the project in events at institutions in Miami, Utah, and Omaha, as well as five iterations of the event in Los Angeles. To date, over 500 people have participated in 1 Image 1 Minute projects. 











Snapshot Aesthetic = an apparently uncomposed everyday subject that is photographed in a way that mimics instantaneous sight
Three shows coined the phrase:
  • Twelve Photographers of the American Social Landscape at Brandeis University in 1966
  • Toward a Social Landscape at George Eastman House in 1966
  • New Documents show at MOMA in 1967
Lee Friedlander, Florida (with sexy eyes), 1963.











Characteristics of snapshot aesthetic:

Use of available light only
Deliberately imperfect
Detached and impersonal approach
Garry Winogrand, Part of the All Women Are Beautiful series, 1964.











Lee Friedlander, New York City, 1965.











Lee Friedlander, New York, 1963.





















Social Landscape strategies:

Catch subjects unaware
No previsualization
Tilted framing
"I photograph to find out what the world looks like photographed." - Garry Winogrand
Garry Winogrand, World's Fair, New York, 1964.











New York City

Garry Winogrand, Central Park Zoo, New York City, 1967.































“'Authority lost its privileged place almost overnight. Authority figures- fathers, mothers, cops, judges, teachers, senators, and the president of the United States- were suddenly spending as much time defending their conduct as they were exercising their power. University presidents and deans were physically thrown out of their offices. Flags were burned and cops were routinely called ‘pigs.’' This passage from Tom Brokaw’s book, Boom! Voices of the Sixties, illustrates a prominent theme of an important decade. He goes on to say, 'Few institutions escaped some kind of assault or change. The very pillars of the Greatest Generation- family, community, university, corporation, Church, law- were challenged to one degree or another. Nothing was beyond question, and there were far fewer answers than before.' During the 1960’s, Americans began to question and challenge authority in ways they never had before." - Road to Change: Questioning Authority in the 1960s
I Am A Man March, 1965.











Watts Riot, August 1965.
Detroit Riot, July 23, 1967.
Six days of unrest, 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and over $40 million in property damage
Five days of unrest, 43 dead, 1,189 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed











LAPD officers beating Rodney King, March 3, 1991.
Empire Liquors, where 15-year-old Latasha Harlins was killed by liquor store owner who believe she was shoplifting, March 16, 1991.











1968 and Civil Unrest
  • North Korea captures US spy ship and takes crew hostage.
  • North Vietnam launches Tet offensive eventually leading to US withdrawal.
  • Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinated.
  • Preceding the opening of the Olympics, up to 300 students and civilians protesting in demand of social, political, and educational reforms are killed by the Mexican government.
  • U. S. Olympic medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the National Anthem to protest racism.
  • German students protest capitalism and the exploitation of the common man.
  • French student and worker strikes nearly bring down the government.
  • Students at Columbia University, NYU, Kent State and others protest wars in Vietnam & Cambodia, the draft, and institutionalized racism.
  • East LA Walkouts/Blowouts by Chicano/a students against unequal conditions in Los Angeles Unified School District high schools demand equity in education.
  • Star Trek airs first interracial kiss on US television.
  • Worst oil spill yet off the coast of Santa Barbara leads to the establishment of the EPA and largest oil reserve in North America discovered in Alaska.