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This image is one of the only two we get from Marion of white jook life. Unlike some of the photographs of black jooks, the picture we get here is relatively safe, happy, though not happy in a grotesque or exaggerated way. Everyone (noticeably both men and women) is enjoying themselves and appears to be posing for a keepsake snapshot of some sort. Because Marion chose to shoot it from a different angle than the other (?) photographer, most of the folks seem unaware that she too is documenting them. Here, because they are modeling for someone else's eye, the pose involved in the construction of such a photograph is somewhat masked. The image feels very spontaneous, upbeat.

That the group is mixed in gender provides an interesting contrast to the (almost exclusively) male tone of the black images, and perhaps adds to the safe, nostalgic, all-American feeling of the image. This jook space doesn't feel particularly marginal, or dangerous. Compared to the images of skin games (#4 and 5), this vision of white entertainment is relatively innocent, wholesome; as Nicholas Natanson put it, the contrast comes back to "good-time whites, skin-game blacks."

The two couples in the other photograph of white folks at jook appear also in this one, this time with the larger group (we presume) they came with.





Juliet Gorman, May 2001


When you've checked out all the photographs, you may want explore the history of Belle Glade, the area where they were taken. 

You also might want to fill in your reading with some background on what jook joints are about.