Iconic images such as "Girl with Flag" taken by Ethan Miller for the Las Vegas Sun become iconic because of their ability to blend a sense of reality with a sense of the artistic to fully convey the feelings of the time.
In this image, a little blond-haired girl in jeans and a grey T-shirt with what appears to be an American flag printed on it, sits on the shoulders of her father, causing her to rise clearly above the crowd around them, as she solemnly looks up at the unfurled American flag she holds in one hand and has her other hand uplifted and outstretched. The photo was taken on the night after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 when the Las Vegas community held a massive candlelight vigil for those who died that day (Shine, 2011). The darkened sky above the little girl appears to be filled with sparks of light while the area below her is filled with the faces of sad-eyed adults of multiple different races, all grieving together. Through the artistic use of the camera as well as the experience of the human eye, Miller was able to capture a scene that epitomized the sentiments of the country at that time.
The photo spoke to the culture in a number of ways at that time. The crowd is very diverse in both age and race, illustrating the concept that this is a united country, especially in times of trouble. As a nation, we value our ability to unite as this crowd has done within a single emotional response to a terrible event. The fact that they are all of adult size with the exception of the little girl really highlights her youth and the concept that we believe in upholding our children as the future of the nation. The effect of the sparks of light occurring above the little girl in the image combined with the fact that she is looking up gives the impression that these sparks may be the lost souls making their departure, but they are actually just pinpoints of light that are out of focus. This technique is called bokeh and is achieved by opening the aperture a
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