Research- New Americans

This photo essay drew me in because it is centered on very real and current debate that has been taking place throughout 2016 focusing on the election campaign that is happening in America at the moment between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. It was taken by photographer Susan Meiselas. This photo essay focuses more on people gaining American citizenship. The use of comparison photographs demonstrates just how long this routine has been going on for, and also provides insight into how the process has changed as well as giving us a rough idea as to how many people go through with this. The writing accompanying the photographs proves most helpful as it includes quotes from the ceremony itself, so we as an audience can gage an idea as to what it is like. Furthermore included are brief overviews of peoples story’s and background which gives the piece a more personal touch, as we feel as though we are beginning to understand where these people are coming from. Additionally the text shown provides numerous facts and figures and so is very informative. As we get further into the narrative more close up shots of peoples faces appear all of them looking very pleased with themselves, even the ones that the photographer has caught off guard are smiling to themselves, as well as looking very patriotic. Due to how the people have been portrayed the photographer has managed to generate the impression that this is indeed a very joyous occasion for many. Susan Meiselas has also included some more staged images of people holding their American citizenship certificate looking very happy, in my opinion these photos don’t work as well as the ones that look more natural, as its those photos which feel more intimate and unpoised, so you are witnessing their true emotion. Additionally I think that the opening image has worked very well as an introductory shot, as it is showing a Czech Women posing in front of the statue of Liberty on her way to Ellis Island to gain her American citizenship, the women is looking very happy for herself and the photo sets you up well for the story that follows.


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