In the latest essay for his Race Stories column in The New York Times, Maurice Berger, research professor at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, examines the shifting attitudes toward the Confederate battle flag. “The image was at once mundane and historic. In Alabama last Wednesday, on the order of Gov. Robert Bentley, workers took down the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the state Capitol and were photographed as they did. The camera, whose role it was to record a reality — and thus to make visible its compelling details of the world — now documented a symbol’s imminent invisibility,” notes Berger, but adds, “In the end, retiring an icon is not the same as dealing with the underlying institutional, emotional, economic and historic complications that it represents.”
Read “Making a Confederate Flag Invisible” and view the photographs at The New York Times Lens blog.
Berger’s Race Stories column, which appears monthly on The New York Times website, is “a continuing exploration of the relationship of race to photographic portrayals of race.”