Free «Reading the Text of the Photograph» Essay Sample

A closer look at the first picture portrays a sad environment. A woman and a small girl seem to be lost in thoughts as they probably face a hard phase in life. The two are in a dark room and the woman is gazing outside in the light and she seems discontented. This scenario forces one to predict that the woman is currently facing challenges and she has no hopes towards a better tomorrow. The context states that this woman is called Erin Charles. She goes by the nickname Tiny, a name she got during her teenage life. She is financially stable and happily married. She has had nine kids but one is not surprised to find that her daughter Shawnie has inherited her mother’s earlier habits. The year is 1999.

The second picture shows a young sad girl probably in her late early twenties. My first instinct tells me that the girl is in a funeral of a loved one and seems to be feeling cold. From the context, we learn the girl is Tiny in a Halloween costume in 1983. She is a prostitute and is into drugs. At the age of thirteen, she eloped home to Seattle because her mother was an alcoholic and always brought men home. Life is hard enough for her as she appears too old for her age and this could have been as a result of poverty and the kind of life she has embraced. Little tiny have experienced rape, imprisonment and has witnessed her friends being killed or die of AIDS. Though ironical, the context tells us that Tiny was smart and talented as compared to other children at her age.

In the third picture, two white friends seem to be enjoying their time with friends. One of them is chewing tobacco and from the environment they are in and their eye contact, it shows that they are probably watching a movie or in a theatre watching a play. From their looks, they seem wealthy and healthy. After reading the context, I completely change the perspective I had drawn from them in my earlier conclusion. The two sheriffs, Lawrence Rainey and Deputy Cecil Price, are racists and murderers. From the context, we get to learn that the two men together with others are following a court ruling after being convicted for killing three African-American human rights activists namely; James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in 1964.  At the time of their death, the activists were vote drive volunteers at Mississippi. Rainey had killed a black man before and Both Cecil and him were feared because of terrorizing the black Americans. One can’t help but wonder how on earth they continued holding offices all that time before they were convicted of murdering the three activists.

It goes without saying that we should desist from judging a book by its cover. Viewing the three pictures without the context gives a totally different meaning from what they really are as per the context. 


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