Picturing the Crisis

Like the post-Katrina streets of New Orleans, the refrigerator has become a ubiquitous symbol within the larger crisis.

One of the ways we remember an economic crisis is through images. Think of the Great Depression, told through the black-and-white portraits of men in bread lines, or wearing placards that beg for work; of a Wall Street suit hocking his car to pay for food; of Hoovervilles.

We remember the oil crisis of the 1970s—technically two crises—not through dry statistics but through scenes of cars and trucks, and sometimes people, stuck in a line that snakes off a gas station’s lot and down the street, choking a city block. And with each sharp drop in the Dow, there’s the ubiquitous portrait of a stockbroker guffawing at the ticker, his hands half-covering his face in disbelief.

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2 thoughts on “Picturing the Crisis

  1. I think this image has a bit of a photojournalistic slant to it. I agree with the philosophy that the way we remember times of crisis are through images, and not statistics. I think these images can be powerful ties to the past as well as collective memories of events. However, I question whether this photograph communicates its purpose or intent as powerfully or successfully as images of the great depression or oil crisis. At first glance, “foreclosure” does not spring to mind immediately, in large part due to my never seeing a foreclosure. I think there might be a better more intelligent way to depict the current economic crisis in a more crisp, clear, and direct manner.

  2. It makes sense to me to begin speaking about the house market collapse and massive home foreclosures, with imagery of homes once used. If the subject is about the house, in context with the physical, market, economic and human, then simplest way to cut through the complexity of the issues to boil it down to the home.

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