THE BLOG
02/06/2009 05:13 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Reading The Pictures: America Unraveling

Moore Adams County1.jpg

Moore Adams County2.jpg
Moore Adams County3.jpg
(click for larger sizes)

Yesterday at BAGnewsNotes, Northwestern Communications professor Bob Hariman posted and discussed a very powerful image by Getty photographer John Moore.   

The photo was taken in Adams County, Colorado, and featured Mary Ann Smith. The scene was the front yard of her house -- or her former house. After the owner she had been renting from stopped paying the mortgage, the bank foreclosed on the property and Adams County sheriff's representatives showed up and evicted her.

The depth, acceleration and cruelty of this recession is unlike any I've seen before ... and I fear, it's still early. In my practice, many people are at the employment and financial precipice, and it's supremely painful to absorb. What makes the situation even more upsetting, however, is how difficult it is for the media to simply and sensitively, without patronization or drama, reflect what's going on.

It's for that reason I find John's photos to be truly poignant. To give them their due, and to extend the eloquent words Bob offered yesterday, I felt it important to offer a few more images of Ms. Smith's eviction.

In each of these close ups, Moore captures the raw edge of not just one person's experience, but the tone and quality of what is happening in towns and cities across the nation. It is one thing to witness the family possessions constituted on the lawn. Seeing it from the inside, with this room torn apart and its contents carted off gets closer to the true violence of it. The second image, with its "throw away" allusion to spirituality references both the cheap morality as well the more existential questions about what is going on. And then, of all things to be floating in this chaos, the baby album speaks to how little place, time and history is counting for now.

For more visual politics, visit BAGnewsNotes.com (and BAGnewsNotes @Twitter).

(image: John Moore/Getty Images. February 2, 2009 in Adams County, Colorado.)