Modernism Monday 1-3pm
the two images you see before you are a commentary,,,
a compare and contrast of moments captured in a similar setting if you will .
the painting on the left is Édouard Manet’s “The Rag picker” painted in the year of 1869 which depicts a man of a humble background, (a vagrant) standing before you noticing you looking at him as he goes about his business picking rags to sell to the local paper company.
he comes and goes as he pleases as he roams the boulevards of France, with not a care in the world he is what one today would call the true hippy and a free thinker by all accounts. Abiding by his own rules, he answers to no man and depends on no one but himself for his survival, and happiness. this man is a true liver of life.
this man is free.
-where as in comparison we have Brassai’s “The Street Walker”. It is simple to think that this woman is a turner of cheap tricks for fast money and that she lives a life of vanity,,, A temptress who beckons you for a night of false affection's and false intentions.
A siren who lures you to shipwreck by way of debt from carnal pleasure, or the ever looming possibility of unwanted disease. We aren't given a preface by the photographer other than that her job description shares a name with the work.
Is this woman such a bad person? Why does she do the job she does? Is it because no one else will do it? Is it because this is the only thing she feels she is good at? What is the psychology behind this woman's intent in terms of her mode of employment? does she do this job because she has a low self-esteem? Is it to fuel a drug or sex addiction, or does she do this job because she was abused and needs a place to sleep? Is she lonely? Or might it possibly be that she does this job for the sake of survival?
These are questions I ask myself because I myself and what one would consider and empathizer of the most extreme. I put myself in the shoes of this woman come to think of why people would automatically judge me as a bad person for the job that I do. Because it has nothing to do with who I am as a person or how I treat others, nor does it have to do with my otherwise normal decision-making when I'm not on the job.
I'm going about my business expecting for no want to bother me unless they would like to solicit my services. Looking at these works I have collected many different thoughts and feelings regarding these people and their romanticization as wanderers of Paris’ city streets.
Those above them view them in the most demeaning way on the social pyramid,
(old money, new money, working middle class, and lower class)
The one thing we know for sure from the title of this work is that this woman is a prostitute.
Her reasoning for doing such a job is unbeknownst to us as an audience. We as the objective spectator are collectively given but a glimpse of what life is like in Paris at night through the eyes someone who see's this woman on a nightly stroll, or what have you.
Our lady of the night has a lot in common in the beginning with our rag picker at face value. they both roam the boulevards of Paris nightly to make some quick money to go about their lives, they both conduct their business nightly, and it is of my opinion that both these people would be viewed as a part of the same social class by the bourgeoisie working class and higher,,,
they are both viewed as low class vagrants, and scum of the…