Rosie Fontenelle Cleans the Bathtub, Harlem, New York, 1967

2 thoughts on “Rosie Fontenelle Cleans the Bathtub, Harlem, New York, 1967

  1. This photo also stood out for me from the collection. Cleaning is traditionally considered women’s work; cleaning also seems like a symbolic and ultimately futile activity in this context. I like your point about how her white shirt and headscarf stand out against the dingy backdrop. The way that the photo angles up and outward toward the window is interesting to me; windows are often symbolic of escape. What are your thoughts here?

    1. I agree with the idea that cleaning could symbolize the family’s effort in bettering their lives and coming out of poverty, and that this little bit of effort isn’t going to make the ten members of the Fontenelle family wealthy. Also, the focus on the window is fascinating. The window is shuttered and does not provide a view of the outside landscape – symbolizing that escape is almost impossible, and this way of life might be all that they are ever able to see, even if they want to get out of it.

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