Absent Photographs (7/8)

Maggie Humm's essay focuses a lot on the absent photographs within Woolf's Three Guineas. A lot of the narration centers on people (mostly women) in some form of distress. For Woolf, much of the distress is financial, but she also acknowledges the people dying in the Spanish Civil War. Instead of using images of those situations, however, Woolf uses images of men in power while in their ceremonial and required attire. While the scenes in SPain may have been described thoroughly, as Humm points out, Woolf draws attention to the root cause behind it all by only showing images of those in power. While it can be argued that Woolf is removing attention from those who are suffering, I find it more interesting that Woolf is placing blame and directing attention to who ought to be making decisions to improve situations. I have tried to think about how adding in those pictures from the Spanish Civil War and the streets of England would do, but I do not think they would add much. The ones Woolf includes speak directly to her argument and provide prompts for readers to think about. 

These images are also connected to memory, so putting these images of men  in power in Three Guineas actually starts to form these new connections in reference to the pictures. I did not know who the men were prior to reading this novel, but they are now connected in my mind to the words Woolf wrote. She, in a way, shifts the legacy of these people and institutions by giving people a new way to associate with them and placing their image into a new context (especially a critical context). This decision also kind of makes Woolf's choice of excluding the other images a little more clear. She avoids altering the meaning and associations of those in distress by keeping their images clear of associations with her words.