During The Famine Young Child Dying In The Gutter, China  Geroge Silk [RESTORED]
Entitled: During the famine, young child dying in the gutter, China  G Silk [RESTORED] I cleaned a few spots, adjusted contrast and darkened tonality for stronger visual impact, and added a sepia tone.
George Silk was a LIFE Magazine staffer, working for them 30 years. He extensively covered many aspects of the second world war, at one point being even captured by the Germans, and then fortunately escaping. He was also the first photographer to document Nagasaki after the atomic bombing. Immediately after the war, he was in China recording the poor social conditions and the lack of resources and its devastating effects on the Chinese populace.
Whether one reads Anderson's Little Match Girl or sees Takahata's anime adaptation of Nosaka's Grave of the Fireflies one cannot help but be thunderstruck with compassion over the plight of impoverished children, and of China it was no different. In the desperate and unforgiving times of the post war period, China was devastated and its streets overflowed with those least able to fend for themselves. Too young to steal food with sustainable reliability and too old and too many to elicit the short supply of compassion of a war numbed society, child orphans were left to scrape a daily existence from whatever they begged or fought for. More often than not, they lost that fight.
This is not a pleasant image, and indeed I was conflicted about even submitting it. However, in the final analysis, painful as it is, it remained an important historic document of the plight that wars bring to people, and the suffering that it engenders. We as a society today cannot help those that have already succumbed to the grinding poverty effects induced by previous wars. However, before we start any new ones, the least that we can do is remember those thousands of starved children, before we in our eager belligerent hubris, inadvertently create more.
An important note about LIFE MAGAZINE:
For those that weren't familiar with the magazine; in its heyday, Life Magazine could be best described as the National Geographic of people and society. From 1936, it offered mostly an intimate and fascinating view, with extensive picture stories or photo essays, into sections of social milieu that Americans could only imagine. Unfortunately, because of the high and rising costs of publishing, it essentially folded in 1972. Sadly, various attempts since then, to bring back this photojournalist's phenomenon (in various forms) met with little success.
All is not lost however; in probably one of the most magnanimous gestures that any corporation can make towards public image history, TIME, Inc., the current owners of the former Life Magazine, has offered up its vast photo archives of over TEN MILLION images to be freely available for non commercial use via GOOGLE's Search engine. Photographs can instantly convey a story in a way that words alone cannot. By releasing these pictures for public access, TIME, Inc., has helped to keep our collective history (as seen through Life Magazine) alive for future generations to appreciate. It is rare indeed to see such corporate generosity.
In order to search the life photo database, simply go to Google Images, and type in your search term, skip a space and append the following exactly as it appears: