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Title: Marion Post : New Deal photographer and racial egalitarian, 1938-41
Author: Crellin, Catherine Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 2555
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Marion Post worked for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), between 1938-1941. I argue that her work was misunderstood by early scholars, while later critics failed to fully explain her beliefs and motivation. My study examines selected series and individual images, contextualised by biographical evidence from the primary sources. The work of critical race theorists and scholars influenced by Marxism and feminism is used to re-examine Post’s work. I argue that Post was a radical activist concerned with removing racial and social inequality. Analysis of Post’s work demonstrates that she sought neither to bear witness to inequality nor to support its amelioration within existing social structures. She wished, rather, to expose and abolish it. My close analysis, in chapter two, of an image that I argue is an iconic photograph suggests that Post’s work presaged that of the civil rights photographer Danny Lyon. Chapter three examines series of images exploring unionisation and strike action, while chapter four concerns series exposing poor black housing in Washington, DC and the contrast between the lives of poor and wealthy whites and between poor whites and poor blacks in Florida. Throughout, Post’s highly individual use of aesthetics to strengthen her argument is evident. I argue that this represents her radical response to the social injustice she observed and sought to redress. I argue that my analysis of selected series of images is applicable to Post’s wider body of work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available