environmental historians are experts in documenting the historical relationship between humans and nature at specific times and places. You are going to practice developing such skills by collecting and analyzing photographic images taken on the Great Plains during the 1930s and using them as empirical data to interpret the human-environment relationship at that time and place. As you have now realized, the Great Plains droughts of the 1930s constitute one of the greatest environmental disasters of the 20th century. The photos in the US Library of Congress collection contain an important database of knowledge about the human-environment relationship on the Great Plains. Your assignment requires you to identify important images in the question and interpret them in a systematic way, as if you were a professional environmental historian. Specifically, you must do the following: 1. Browse through the US Library of Congress collection and select three images that you believe provide important information about the human-environment relationship on the Great Plains during the 1930s. Copy and paste these images into a Word document, providing the full bibliographic reference in a caption below each image (see how this was done in Figure 1 above and in the “Lessons from the Dust Bowl article”, and you do similarly).12. Write a report no more than 3 single-spaced pages in length (not including the space taken up by the images themselves) in which you: (1) describe in words what is being depicted in each of the selected photos, as well as where/when each photo was taken (you will find that many images in the LoC collection are accompanied by a note that provides this information); (2) explain what you believe is the lesson we today should draw from the information contained in the photograph. In your explanation, try to link the photos to what you learned from reading the “What We Learned from the Dust Bowl” article. Some tips about interpreting photographs… As you browse through the Library of Congress collection, think about how you will interpret the photographs you select. Photographic imagery provides powerful data with which to understand and interpret historical events. The photographs in the collection contain information such things as: -What people were like (such as their age, gender, clothing, family size and configuration, posture, etc) -Interactions between people (e.g. people looking at one another, holding one another, speaking, etc) 1 Note that it is OK to copy and paste images from this collection into your work, so long as you cite the source. This is because the images in this LoC database are in the “public domain”; that is, there is no copyright on them.
7-Activities that people carried out (in their work, in their leisure time, in their daily routines) -Things people have imposed upon the natural landscape (e.g. fields, crops, houses, bridges, farms, electrical poles, etc) -The technologies people at that time used (e.g. automobiles, farm equipment, windmills, etc) -Environmental conditions (e.g. soil, dust, wind, sunshine, standing water, etc) When you look at a photograph, consider not only the foreground of the image, but the background as well. Consider the time of day, the time of year, and the location in which it was taken. Remember that these photographs are the outcomes of deliberate decisions by a photographer to capture and communicate a particular set of information. What is the photographer trying to tell us? Why has the photographer composed the image in a particular way? For example, has the photographer chosen to zoom in on an individual person’s face, or are the human figures shown in full? If there are no people at all in the photo, why not? (Notice you will not find a single “selfie” in the entire collection). The information the photographer is trying to convey is often reflected in the framing of the people, things and landscape elements in the photo. There are more questions to consider when viewing these photographs. What is the focal point of the image, and why? Are people in an image carrying out some sort of activity and, if so, what likely happened before the photo was taken, and what will likely happen next? Or has the photographer asked the people in the photo to pose for the image? If so, what is it the photographer wants us to interpret from them? Does s/he want us to study the people themselves, or does s/he want us to consider their setting and surroundings (or all of these)? Perhaps the photographer decided not to include any people in the photo at all, and instead shows us the landscape. What information is the photographer trying to tell us about that land?
CANNOT BE PLAGIARIZED