I chose Photogrammar first because it focuses on an applicable time period (1935-45), and it covers a broad array of subjects and areas (within which was my own area of interest – the national border) as put forth by a number of different photographers with different aims. Photogrammar is a beautiful, simple, and easy to use website. The main content of the site are photos taken by various eminent photographers of the mid 20th century for the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information with the purpose of documenting the realities and struggles of daily life for those living in America in that time period, as well as of garnering public support for president FDR's Resettlement Administration project of 1935. The site is organized into four main sections: an about page, which explains the FSA-OWI’s original project goals and the subsequent development of an even larger photo collection, the entirety of which is physically housed in the Library of Congress. The about page also introduces the “Lot Number and Classification Tags” system for searching the photos, and conveniently links to the search page of Photogrammar. Another main component of the site is a map containing all the site’s photographs, which can be viewed either by density of photos per region or by selecting different colored dots across spread across the map that represent each photographer’s projects in various regions of the country. The final of the main portions of the site is the “Lab” page, which introduces three other methods for exploring the photo collection: the “Treemap” which allows you to continually narrow your search under different sub-classifications of photos to find just the right collection; the “Metadata Dashboard”, which, when completed, will allow viewers to more closely analyze photos in each state by photographer, date, number of photos per region, and classification of photos; and finally “Colorspace”, which is not yet functional, but promises to allow viewers to explore the color photos in the collection through varying hues, saturations, and brightness.
My second digital source is Samuel Truett’s Continental Crossroads, which is of a decidedly different flavor than Photogrammar. “Continental Crossroads” is a novel available in ebook format through Yale’s Orbis system. The novel discusses the necessity of examining life at the US-Mexico border in a transnational light, as opposed to previous historical work, which mainly investigated topics through the lens of one nation or the other, and reified communities and ethnic groups without properly examining their internal complexities and their relationships to each other. The book is a collection of sometimes conflicting essays from various authors that are organized into four main sections: Frontier Legacies, Borderland Stories, Transnational Identities, and Body Politics.
After gathering both strong photographical and textual resources, I looked for a final source that felt landed somewhere in between. I decided I wanted to assess some type of art exhibit, whether that meant one that was designed to be exclusively online, or an online representation of a physical museum exhibit. I wandered around on Google a bit and tried to find exhibits related to my topic by searching things like “borderlands”, “US-Mexico border”, “US-Mexico border 20th century” “history of the US-Mexico border” “immigration at the southern border” etc, etc, all paired with “exhibit” or “museum”. Eventually I came across the Weatherspoon Museum’s online page for its exhibit “Zone of Contention: The US-Mexico Border”. The page is mostly a promo for the exhibit, which the Weatherspoon museum, based in Greensboro, North Carolina put up in the summer of 2012. A slideshow at the top of the page lets you click through and view photographs of various pieces and installations in the exhibit, as well as photos of the actual exhibit space itself. The exhibit is both an overall examination of the situation at the US-Mexico border, as well as an effort on the part of the Weatherspoon to make a comment on how US-Mexico border relations continue to affect North Carolina in particular. Below the slideshow is a brief statement of the exhibit’s focus and the artists involved, and below all this is a link to the gallery guide for the exhibit. On the gallery guide are a slightly expanded version of the exhibit’s purpose statement, along with black and white photos of featured pieces accompanied by brief explanations of the piece's general goal. Below all this are a series of links to events and exhibits also going on at the Weatherspoon which are related in some respect or another to the topics covered in the "Zone of Contention" exhibit.
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