Nuremberg, Germany 1938

Image

This image is one of many Nuremberg rallies that took place in Germany in 1938.  The photo was captured by Hugo Jaeger, who was formerly known as Adolf Hitler’s personal photographer in the years leading up to and throughout World War II.  The first thing about this picture which caught my attention is simply that it is in color.  Normally, we see pictures of this time frame in black and white; however the color seems to add a more reflective perspective of Nazi Germany and not just the negative denotation and connotation associated with this picture (as if in black and white), in which entails German Nationalism, anti-Semitism, and Nazi propaganda. 

I say more reflective because the first perspective that came to mind was a more realistic view of what life was like in Germany with such solid colors that symbolized their ethnocentric culture and most of the males at least seemed to be dressed in a uniform.  The fact that you can see their faces and clothes clearer in color than in black and white makes it more humanized.

The colors on the banner are significant because those were the main colors for their propaganda and created a deeper symbolism within the symbols itself.  There is linear perspective in this photo that shows the viewer these colossal swastika banners that are draping the street on every side of the buildings.  These banners were not going to go unnoticed to German citizens and this picture embodies the heavy use of symbolism in propaganda that sought to garner attention and loyalty, and to demonstrate the Nazi party as being very powerful.  So it puts a perspective that people delved into this culture in order to survive and finally have sovereignty which was not present prior to Hitler’s arrival and after the first war.  Germany was seen to be weak and was plagued by economic depression, scarcity of food, and resources that were vital.  So the fact that the National Socialist German Workers’ Party was able to accumulate this amount of people shows their strength as a nation and demonstrates their once super-powerful cohesive government. 

The photographer embodies perspective realism and his point of view seems to be coming from the initial starting point of the rally since you can see the vast amount of people subsumed on the side of the street all the way down to where it gets blurry.  The fact that most of the people’s heads are faced down toward the street and their body language is calm and neat, demonstrates that they are awaiting for somebody to appear or looking at who just drove past.

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2 comments

  1. Diamond calls our attention to an important component of the photograph: its color. Along with playing a part in spreading Nazi propaganda, she argues that the color is what makes the image realistic. Ironically, since color photography was not very widespread in the 1930s — people were more used to seeing photographs as always black-and-white — it would probably not have registered to people at the time as “more realistic.” But color is one way that can help people today feel more connected to the past, as evident from this link to a series of historical pictures that have recently been colorized:
    http://twentytwowords.com/realistically-colorized-historical-photos-make-the-past-seem-incredibly-real-36-pictures/

  2. I agree with Diamond that color definitely brings a different perspective to this photograph. As a viewer we can still visualize an aged color to this photo but color definitely changes the mood. My eyes draw right to the long vertically draping swastika flags. The vertical lines of the swastika flags then draw me to the members of the Nazi party lining the street. Without the coloring of this photo I believe people would focus more on the car in the middle of the road and it is more important to realize the mass amount of followers Hitler had. I also agree with Diamond that this photo is reflective because the photo represents a time period in Germany where uniformity was expressed. This photograph perfectly projects the uniform culture in Germany at the time. This photograph embodies realism because it expresses the feeling somebody would have had if they were on a stand looking down the street. I also agree with Diamond that the point of view seems to be coming from the beginning of the rally because the car is facing away from the photographer and the image gets more blurry as the viewer looks deeper into the photograph. I would also add that the point of view seems to be slightly higher than a person standing on the side of the road in the photograph. The most important aspect of this photograph is the vertical lines coming from the flags and the buildings because it accentuates how many people are there for one person. Making this photograph in color and not black and white reinforces that people’s eyes will follow the vertical lines to the large gathering of people.

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