Freedom of Life in Modern America

The 1950s was the beginning of a new form of freedom of expression with style, verbal expressions, photography, and art. Photography was a form of individual freedom in the early 1950s. Images captured by photographers would represent what the world looked like in their point of view. Several famous photographers used different styles and techniques to portray a message. Freedom of expression is essential to a free society. It allows all individuals to communicate each person’s dignity and worth. Freedom of expression allows all individuals to realize their full potential.

After the second world war, images presented in photographs became persuasive. This was due to the weekly magazine put out for the public. These images were mostly known for their propaganda. Many of these images were in attempts to persuade Americans to join the U.S army. Rosie the Riveter and Uncle Sam were two portraits that portrayed this idea of persuasion. Rosie the Riveter promoted female empowerment. It inspired a call to action for women just like her to help.

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It sent a message that women too were strong and could help just as much as men. In the image Rosie has her hair tied up which marks her as a member of the working class. This made her very relatable to women across the country. There were also poster images attempting to promote war bonds and funds. This was to help fund the war. These kinds of posters were mostly famous in France, Germany, and Austria.

Robert Frank a famous photographer in the 1950s, said “a photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.

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” He explains that this kind of photography is realism. He believed that realism was not enough and that there has to be a vision apart of it. The first photographic images were produced in silver, colored dyes and in printer’s ink. There was now a new wide range of imagery such as abstract images, colors, and visual manipulations. Many people used art and photography in the 1950s to express their views on social realities at that time. Alfred Stieglitz was one of the first to advocate photography as a fine art and an artistic revolution of modernism. He played a major role in introducing America to European art. His photograph “The Steerage” marked a turning point to a more modern aesthetic. The Steerage shows a gangplank cutting the composition in two, which can be interpreted as a society that is economically divided. His photographs began to embark more photographic qualities such as, good contrast, focus, and range of tones.

Many scholarships were gifted to members of the army which were used to attend art schools. This photography education introduced many young adults to a career in photography and a means of personal expression. The American incarnation of the Bauhaus a school of design in Chicago presented the idea that photographers be aware of the expressive manipulation of light. The institutes goal was to have their students dedicated to finding a fresh, personal way of looking at the ordinary world.

Minor White was a photographer who was concerned with how people understood photographs with their own personal vision. His ideas on metaphorical and allusive meanings in photographs attracted many people to follow him and his ideas. He believed that images should portray more than their subject matter. This was a concept of “equivalence”. The image is portrayed with a symbol, which develops to fill the need of the moment. An example of this is the textures, colors and size of an image can represent the character of an individual.

Style was more accessible during this era. Style was a new way for people to express themselves. The latest trends were beginning to be available to everyone and not only exclusive to only the Rich. The fashion icons to portray these new fashions included Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Brigitte Bardot. Women had the opportunity to express themselves freely through their fashion that many were not use to. Christian Dior’s style of a nipped, hourglass shape became a new style of the 1950s that defined womanliness. This was especially new to the people of this era because this was right after years of the oppression of fashion. Queen Elizabeth was also a known icon for the new “Style rebellion”. For the queen’s coronation in 1953, along with her dress she styled it with a lot of bling, a gold tassel, and embroidery. These details were very bold and prior to this new age was not seen in women’s fashion. The Bikini was found in 1946. Brigitte Bardot was the first to wear a bikini, creating a bikini craze. Elvis Presley created his own unique style giving off a biker chic look. His look made a mark on both men’s and women’s fashion.

Freedom of individual expression was portrayed through Art, style, and photography. With the new era of freely expressing oneself, brought new artistic ways of expressing one’s views and feelings. Photography was considered the new art that presented daily life with hidden meanings. These hidden meanings could represent a person’s attitude on a topic of issue using their unique techniques. Being that this was an era of such prosperity, conformity, and consensus there was much to capture and have an opinion on. People finally had a way to express themselves freely in the way they wanted.

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Freedom of Life in Modern America. (2022, Jan 09). Retrieved from

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