Friday, May 8, 2009

Mechanical icon

For all you history podcast fans out there, here is a project from a history podcaster that is not a podcast. It is not even a video podcast. It is a video project though, a project of video essays.

There are these iconic pictures that mark history for us. As single pictures can say more than a thousand words, certain pictures capture history more than a thousand tales. And what better medium to talk about those pictures is the visual? Podcaster Marshall Poe of the great podcast New Books In History, has done this on the website Mechanical Icon. In an ever growing series of video essays, he discusses those iconic images that photography has delivered us and that capture history in a famous way.

Poe doesn't only mark the way in which these images are meaningful and manage to capture history in one shot. He also points out how these images often are manipulated and attempt to sell history in a visual that is sometimes stronger than a thousand lies. Take for example the picture of Karl Marx, that is conveniently cut by his followers in such a way as to hide what can also be seen and understood if the full picture is observed.

It is a pity these essays do not come in a vodcast feed. They surely are worth it. Independent of that, I heartily recommend everybody to go and check. This collection is a row of jewels side by side.