Introduction Assignment Resources

Gangsters

Michael O'Malley, Associate Professor of History and Art History, George Mason University

Example 1

Most people look at images quickly, but using photos as historical documents requires close analysis. You need to examine every aspect of the picture, and see what each small piece of information can tell you. It's often helpful to mentally divide the image up into a grid. Here is an example; move your cursor over sections of the image to get a further analysis:

After careful analysis, we can conclude that the image depicts a staged scene of Esposito handing out charity baskets to worthy boys, possibly with the help of local African Americans. The African Americans may be getting charity from Esposito as well, but they might also be members of whatever organization is sponsoring this event--probably a church.