Sunday, September 12, 2004

100 photographs that changed the world

That's what Life Magazine have called this collection, although you only get to see 28 of them on the web site and it implies you have to subscribe to see the rest. There is an obvious in-built US bias at work here, but there are some pretty powerful images (and some very gruesome ones too), including this one from The Land of the Free.

Lynching 1930
A mob of 10,000 whites took sledgehammers to the county jailhouse doors to get at these two young blacks accused of raping a white girl; the girl’s uncle saved the life of a third by proclaiming the man’s innocence. Although this was Marion, Ind., most of the nearly 5,000 lynchings documented between Reconstruction and the late 1960s were perpetrated in the South. (Hangings, beatings and mutilations were called the sentence of “Judge Lynch.”) Some lynching photos were made into postcards designed to boost white supremacy, but the tortured bodies and grotesquely happy crowds ended up revolting as many as they scared. Today the images remind us that we have not come as far from barbarity as we woul’d like to think.