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Through the Eyes of the Home Front

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Case Study: Through the Eyes of the Home Front

Toni Frissell is highly remembered today for her high-fashion work that she did with Vogue. Most of her work was volunteered through the American Red Cross. The reason she switched from high-fashion to war reportage, she states, is because: "I became so frustrated with fashions that I wanted to prove to myself that I could do a real reporting job" (2010). A lot of her later photos helped President Roosevelt's campaigns to counteract the thoughts about women in uniform and to reinforce positive public attitudes about black people being able to handle the military work.

Esther Bubley was a photographer in Washington D.C. She had just finished art school and like Frissell, had recently spent a little time working for Vogue. She spent her free time documenting the home front by taking pictures of subjects of war around the city. Her pictures eventually got her an offer from Roy Stryker who she longed to work for. "Stryker, head of the documentary photography project of the Historical Section, FSA Documentary photo project was an outstanding mentor and teacher", (2010). One good thing about Bubley's photography was that she wasn't interested much in the "industrial complex" of the war as she was with the focus on the average American.

The Library of Congress states, "Like Esther Bubley, Dorothea Lange documented the change on the home front, especially among ethnic groups and workers uprooted by the war", (2010). However, the difference with Lange was that her focus was on the internment camps set up by Executive Order 9066. "To capture the spirit of the camps, Lange created images that frequently juxtapose signs of human courage and dignity with physical evidence of the indignities of incarceration. Not surprisingly, many of Lange's photographs were censored by the federal government; itself conflicted by the existence of the camps" (2010).

These women were all great photographers of their time. They all took pictures depicting a different side of the war. Toni Frissell, who was cultured in high-fashion photography, took view on the women and the blacks helping with war efforts. Esther Bubley focused on the life of average American citizens during the war and Dorothea Lange documented the internment camps for the Japanese set up by Executive Order 9066. While still very different people with very different mediums, they all had the same path of showing what the war was like for people on the home front.



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