Possibly, this is one of the most bizarre and awkward photos I’ve seen in a long time. It seems like there’s a punchline that I’m missing. It’s part of These Americans.
These Americans is a project by American Suburb X. It has a Facebook page, too, which I follow and have for a long time. The role of the project is to show American photographs of the American experience - in all its forms. It doesn’t shy away from hot button issues such as racism or exploitation, it just serves up the photographs in their honest and often ugly glory. This is the unedited visual portrait of the American People. Some people are good. Some are bad. Some of the photographs are frightening and on another site would be heavily censored. There are also plenty of celebrities, ceremonies, happy times and nostalgia for the “good old days”. These Americans does only a very simple kind of editorialising where you can see that these photos are not posted simply to gratify our curiosity for the salacious, or promote hate, but to open our eyes to the many facets of human behaviour. Although many people comment on the Facebook page because they feel that the site glorifies crime and prejudice, lust and sensationalism, These Americans posted a policy for commenting, which is actually more of a mission statement or mandate (quoted below).
Certainly, an element of its audience may enjoy that aspect, but I would like to think that the majority can view these images and recognise those aspects for the negative, hurtful, or sinister human failings that they are. In some cases, they are a product of their time in history, and I’d like to think the majority of Americans (and others) realise that the “good old days” have their dark sides, too. This is an incredible archive, drawn from public and private collections, serving up an unedited photographic history of a country’s turbulent past, which is in many ways, no so different from any other countries’ history.
From the Facebook page:
Any form of racist comment will be deleted. If repeated, the FB user will be deleted from the T.A page. T.A.’s decision to show our nation’s heinous history of racism is a strong condemnation of this past (and present). Blackface, lynching and other pictures are here to shine a glaring spotlight on these actions and the history, not to validate it in any way shape or form.
Please use tact in general and be consider of other users. Although the photographs here of men and women can be loaded in nature, they are a reflection on our complex culture, not solely a means to an entertainment end. Humour is welcome but use common sense.