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Grant number like: FT-56650-09

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Dolores Flamiano
James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA 22807-0001)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2009 – 6/30/2009

A Good Picture Is Hard to Kill: Hansel Mieth and Social Reform Photojournalism, 1934-1949

My book project examines photography history through the work of German emigre photographer Hansel Mieth (1909-1998). She was a migrant farm worker who used her camera to document the harsh living conditions and camaraderie of California's fruit pickers, waterfront workers, and immigrants. In the 1930s, Mieth and Margaret Bourke-White were the only women staff photographers at this popular magazine. Mieth's LIFE photographs include powerful visual documents of women, workers and minorities in the 1930s and 40s. These images illuminate the shifting relationship between social reform photography and commercial photojournalism. Scholars have argued that magazines appropriated the style and emotional engagement of social reform photography to promote dominant ideologies and social conformity. My book investigates this claim and contributes to an understanding of photography's role in shaping public discourse on American history and national identity.