Hard on the Eyes: A Photographer and His Subject

May 07, 2012

Lecture at the GHI | Werner Sollors (Harvard University)

The lecture will present a close reading of a frequently reproduced photograph taken on April 20, 1945, following the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and published in LIFE magazine on May 7, 1945. The scene of a young boy casually strolling down a road is disturbed by something in the lower right half of the photograph... The image will first be approached as a photograph, then seen in historical, cultural, and biographical contexts. Reading the photograph involves interpretive challenges and detective work and also raises ethical questions.

Werner Sollors holds the Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Chair as Professor of English and Professor of African-American Studies at Harvard University. His major publications include Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Literature and Culture (1986), Neither Black nor White yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature (1997), and Ethnic Modernism (2008). He is a corresponding member of the Bayerische Amerika-Akademie.