Contest fotografici nel sud statunitense tra il 1960 e il 1965: Il caso di Mississippi e Tennessee

Giuliano Santangeli Valenzani


This paper aims to provide an analysis of the snapshots submitted to two Southern newspapers, the Clarion Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi and The Tennessean of Nashville, Tennessee, in a national photographic contest held from 1960 until 1965. Adopting research methodologies from studies on family and vernacular photography, the paper aims to reach a valid image of the society behind the analyzed photos. A research in the above-mentioned newspapers produced a collection of circa 450 snapshots that have been analyzed to answer some basic questions about the society that produced them. Who participated in these contests? How popular was the snapshot hobby in the 1960s southern society? Is it possible to find any kind of social criticism in these shots? What differences existed between the snapshots from Mississippi and those from Tennessee? In fact, although the South was still strictly segregated, Mississippi and Tennessee represented two different aspects of the same Southern culture. Racism in Mississippi was far more violent, while Tennessee had a better racial climate and a smaller percentage of black citizens. Particular interest lies precisely in the role of African Americans as both authors and subjects of the snapshots.


Photography; Clarion Ledger; newspaper; Mississippi; Tennessee

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