Through Amateur Eyes by Frances Guerin Essay

Through Amateur Eyes by Frances Guerin Essay

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Frances Guerin explores the ideas and thoughts of Nazism by dissecting and analyzing photography and film in Nazi Germany in her book, Through Amateur Eyes. Guerin digs for deeper and more distinct interpretations of the amateur art and searches for ways that the viewer can better understand Germans involved in the Nazi party. The photos and moving images addressed are taken by German officers, soldiers, and civilians, Nazis and non-Nazis, during World War II (pg. xiii). Guerin sees them first and foremost as amateur images, then from there begins to try to understand the content, perspective and meaning of the image. “… the content—often violent crimes, propagandistic manipulations, or, at best, skewed realities—is one of the number of elements that informs a denser, more nuanced understanding of the images…” (pg. xiv). Guerin, while not supporting the content nor the photographers of the images, still looks to redeem the images not as art but as support to keeping the twentieth century alive.
In chapter one, “Witnessing from a Distance, Remembering from Afar,” Guerin describes how she defines an Amateur photographer. Guerin shares, “They were soldier, officers, civilians, or elite Nazis who pursued an interest in the still an/or moving image…” (pg. 20). She then goes on the explain, although their images are well taken and properly exposed, she defines them as amateurs because none of the images were produced for commercial or official use. Another way she defines an amateur photograph is by the absence of the photographer or author. After giving her definitions of an amateur, Guerin then states the significance of the amateur artists during this time. She states the amateurs photographers fill in historical gaps and she...


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...n, Guerin transitions to women during the time of Nazism and what they believed. Braun along with most women during this time strongly believed in their role of watching and raising children to carry on the future success of the race and assure the immortality of the nation (pg. 260).
The images addressed today in, Through Amateur Eyes, are images that help shape the past and ideas of life during World War II in Nazi Germany. The photography and film taken by the amateurs during this time reveal ways of culture and life for the Nazis. Guerin does an excellent job of backing up her ideas and theories with examples of photography and film throughout the book. Through Amateur Eyes, opens up new ways of viewing and analyzing the Nazi culture and offers a new way of processing these images of war and trauma.


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Through Amateur Eyes - Fracnes Guerin

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