Various art forms can be effective mechanisms for encouraging people to take action or motivating them to change their minds about a particular issue/problem. Among such types of art is photography, which, thanks to a single image, can convey the entire conceived message and also induce a person to take action. One of the key themes of the society of the past and present century is the protection of human rights and different communities, such as the LGBTQ one. A vivid example of photography that conveys a certain clear message is a work by Diana Davies who took a picture of a young LGBTQ activist back in 1970. Therefore, it was found that a clear staging of the frame, as well as the presence of a central idea that can be played up with the help of text in a photo, can become a strong mechanism for drawing attention to a certain topic, in this case, these are the rights of LGBTQ people, as well as demonstrating a specific historical period, the essence of which is can be transferred using one photo artwork.
Activism aimed at protecting human rights is a central social theme even in modern society. A key activity aimed at attracting the attention of the masses in the last century was the holding of rallies and parades. One such parade took place in 1970 where Diana Davies took a photo of the young LGBTQ activist Donna Gottschalk carrying a big textual poster. The photograph itself is a black and white photograph taken using the film camera. When looking at a photograph, the first thing that catches the eye is the text and the text here is one of the main mechanisms in conveying the central idea. The text on the poster says ‘I am your worst fear, I am your best fantasy.’ The second key mechanism of photography is the girl. Combining these two aspects, one can immediately conclude what kind of context the composition carries, namely the representation of the idea that the stereotypical thinking that a beautiful girl is a man’s ‘fantasy’ has another side, namely that the same girl has the right and can, in the event of sexism and discrimination, be persistent and stand up to defend its rights and freedoms. Since the poster is held by a girl and given the theme of the parade, one can also conclude that she advocates for gay girls who, at first glance, may look ‘traditional’ (sexy and attractive) in the eyes of the patriarchy system, but at the same time be strong and independent, as well as define oneself not only by ‘traditional’ heterosexuality but also to move away from the stereotypical society having a different sexual orientation. The photographer did her best to place the key idea of the above in the center of the photo, and this was done by staging the frame in such a way that the girl and the poster come to the fore, while an important aspect of Christopher Street Gay Liberation Parade itself remains behind but does not lose its value.
Photo by Diana Davies can also be appreciated from the color scheme side. The choice towards black and white film, in this case, can be considered successful since the viewer is not distracted by different color photo aspects and all attention is focused on the main character and the poster that carries an important social message. The photographer used such working strategies as avoiding camera shake having a clear focus, taking a vertical view of the frame to capture the whole composition, and positioning the photo ‘protagonist’ in the center to focus on the central idea more. Moreover, the photographer also successfully used specific techniques. First of all, it is entering the conversation technique as it can be seen that Donna Gottschalk puts her all attention on the camerawoman who made a shot. The photographer created the contact, asked for the photo permission (as the girl knew that the photo will be taken since she smiles and looks directly on the camera), positioned the girl in the front, and made a photo that also demonstrates clear contact between the camera and a girl with a poster, and later with a girl with a poster and a viewer. Another technique used by the photographer is ways of responding. It is clear that the girl in the photo communicated with the photographer and understood the meaning of how the photograph may help to convey the key idea. The girl with a poster smiles has a stable stance on two legs, and place the poster in the front, to the center so the viewer will see the key photograph figure. Hence, it is possible to see that the photographer succeed in maintaining the contact between herself and the figure on the photo and, overall, such contact is not a common thing in street photography so this indicates professionalism and clear idea that was in the photographer’s head.
The vertical photo of Donna Gottschalk has all the characteristics to be considered a successful street photograph, which clearly shows the underlying idea. The horizon in the photo is overwhelmed, and the girl with the poster is in the center, positioning herself as the central figure. The girl is also seen in full growth and the presence of other protesters in the background creates the effect of being present when viewing the photo. Overall, the photo implies stasis which can be seen by the girl position who rests two feet on the ground, however, looking at the background, one can see the development of conversation, interest, and movement. Therefore, the photographer managed to achieve the double effect of photography by positioning the protagonist in the middle of the action. An aspect such as lighting was also taken into account. Only with the advent of computers and software, people received the opportunity to change the parameters of a photo, making it darker or lighter. It can be assumed that in the 70s of the last century there were problems with this and it was possible to make color corrections only during the development of the film. Nevertheless, the photographer measured the light correctly and set the right ISO, so the photo did not turn out to be overexposed, although this risk may be present due to the obvious presence of direct sunlight in the photo.
All in all, photography has always been and remains the main key resource that allows conveying a certain idea and presenting clear information to the viewer. A successful example of informative photography is Diana Davies’s photo who captured young activist Donna Gottschalk supporting LGBTQ people during the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Parade. The photographer achieved the desired result, namely, drawing the viewer’s attention to the problem of accepting a woman only as a resource of beauty, but not an object entitled to her own opinion and decision in favor of how to look, whom, and how to love. Diana Davies used all possible techniques to achieve this goal, namely, demonstrating an urgent problem of society with the help of photography. She used such techniques as symmetry, centering the key object, using black and white film, the conversation and ways of responding techniques, as well as positioning the object in the center of the actual events that develop in the background.