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image by
Roy DeCarava,
Force, New York, 1963

I wanted to express something that always seem to happen to people, black people in this particular case. They are removing this woman from a demonstration and it is a display of force. Force is short for force and violence. I wanted people to look at this picture as an abstraction, then to discover what is was. This image is just a very small part of a negative. No matter how abstract it is, it’s still what it is an you really cant escape it. It could have been made very dramatic, very forceful with all the gory details, but I don’t think that’s necessary. There areas in which force manifests itself in pervasive ways an in quiet ways. Force, violence isn’t always spectacular and monumental and epic. Sometimes it is very quiet and insidious, almost imperceptible. In a way that’s the approach I took in this photograph. It’s the force of running water wearing down the rock as opposed to a volcanic force.
I think the action of water wearing the rock is stronger and more pervasive than the volcano. The trouble when this kind of force is applied to people is that people that the water is running, that the force is being used against them. They just know that things aren’t right, but they don’t know why. If it was volcanic, they could understand what it was and could defend themselves because they wouldn’t know what to expect, where it is coming from. The kind of force I have depicted, on the other hand, is very subtle but it works both ways. The same kind can be applied by either side; the force of resistance. There is also an other aspect to it _force as the desire and the will by the majority of the people in the world to reach sunlight. A drive for live, for fulfillment, is also force. It is stronger than those being used against these people, expect the forces being used against them are concerted and conscious whereas the will of life is still in its unconscious, intuitive stages.

Roy DeCarava

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August 2