A photograph that made me think – Trolley – New Orleans (1955) – Robert Frank

The first time I saw this image I was satisfied with how good the composition and framing was, but after another couple of seconds viewing this image it started speaking so much more than just technically good photography. It started to make me realise the social degradation resulting from the segregation between different classes and ethnic groups in 1955, America.

This image made me think in two ways, photographically and politically. Photographic wise this image is perfectly framed and composed, the way each bar of the bus windows isolates the difference in class and ethnicity really speaks about the divide in the American culture back in 1955.

Politically this image really enhances what it was like to be a minor in the American society in 1955, the way that white upper class people were closer to the front and black working class people closer to the back really makes you think ‘How bad was the segregation between races, classes, ages and how it affected everyday life?’. This image is only one of many from ‘The Americans’ photobook which photographically, but more politically makes me think about how your view on the world through your camera can influence different people’s opinions on society and art in general.

Jake Haseldine

L1 Photography, University of the West of England


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