Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
June 27, 2008

Picture Of Unity

Clinton-Obama-Unity

A couple takes on Unity….

First, compare this shot by Getty's Spencer Platt with this elegant photo of Unity's main landmark.  Given the thoroughness of Team Obama, I can't help wondering how much yesterday's color scheme was inspired by  some careful location scouting.  The other point of comparison with the Unity Town Hall has to do with symmetry.  The Obama campaign has been extremely successful lately in making things line up.  (The shot above is not the first with the precision of a a synchronized swimming contest.)

Co4

Then, there is this shot that Getty's Mario Tama passed along.  What it well captures is exactly what's going on now, which is a courtship process.

(You might have to ————-> expand your browser to see the whole thing.)

(image 1: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.  June 27, 2008. Unity, New Hampshire. image 2: Mario Tama/Getty Images.  linked photo: Alex Brandon/AP. Detroit, Monday, June 16, 2008.)

  • http://happening-here.blogspot.com/ janinsanfran

    It sure is a courtship — and he’s boss. I find it unattractive. And I strongly preferred Obama in the primary. But this feels like an assertion of his dominance in a way I don’t find entirely healthy or safe.
    The live performances via YouTube have much less this flavor than the still shots. I’m sure this imagery is part of what the Obama people wanted to bring out.
    Guess I’m saying I don’t want a President whose style of governance is romancing his opposition into submission. He’ll run with it, but I doubt it will remain his governing style, because he’ll have to find more ways to get over than this.

  • catfood

    Interesting, in the top photo you have Hillary’s back as a field of blue and Obama’s right arm and two spectators forming red and white stripes… Of course the blue traditionally associated with the U.S. flag is much darker, while the shade Hillary wore precisely matches the lighter blue used in the Obama campaign logo. Then, in the larger photo someone in the crowd is holding up a placard with a likeness of the flag rendered in Obama logo colors… synchronicity.

  • Books Alive

    I heard the blue color described as “periwinkle,” but I believe the doors are painted Wedgewood blue. A GoodSearch turns up this nugget, building on the theme of courtship: http://www.theweddingdept.com/colors/wedgewood.htm

  • margaret

    I’m intrigued with Clinton’s shoes which are too small for her feet, and not healthy for the foot, with all that standing she has to do. Maybe, that’s why she always looked so irritated during the campaign. A trivial note, but indicative of her conflict as a strong woman trying to still be petite and feminine. Some Queen Elizabeth clogs with open toes might serve her better, and make her appear more “grounded.”
    I like Obama’s hand on her shoulder. It’s not sexist, it’s just that he is taller, and reaching out. Anyway, Americans aren’t going to vote for a woman unless she’s six feet tall, unmarried, without baggage like Bill, and completely comfortable with who she is, like a Golda Mier.

  • gypsy howell

    That’s funny- the first thing I too noticed were her gold shoes. Then I couldn’t decide if I was seeing red and swollen toes in them, or some trick of lighting. I couldn’t get the image of Chinese foot binding out of my mind.
    I liked his hand on her back – it looks very gentle.

  • Donut

    Ditto on noticing the shoes first.
    I don’t really see how either of these shots has a sexist cast to it. Also, in the second shot it looks more to me like she’s leaning in to speak into his ear, not for a kiss.
    In fact, I guess that leads me to think that I also disagree that what is happening here is best characterized as a courtship.
    It seems much more like a sibling rivalry to me than a spousal relationship. Sure, they’ve definitely been in negotiations the last couple of weeks, but it’s not like Obama is about to receive a dowry from Bill Clinton, or something.
    Ew, now there’s a weird thought.
    What I see here are intra-family competitors setting aside their differences, not lovers, and with Obama wanting the Clintons on the stump, and with the Hillary camp looking for assistance with retiring debt, or for a possible Veep or cabinet slot, etc., it definitely has a familial overtone for me.
    Clinton did not give up one iota of her status by dropping from the race – opposite of that, acutally – and I don’t think that Obama or his camp see Clinton as the inferior party here. He may be the boss of the national party for now, but she’s still got quite a power base, and has to respect that.
    Last thought: Mario Tama did an outstanding job balancing that second photo.

  • Mr. Terwilliger

    The first thing in my mind was your intro line of “A couple takes on Unity…. ”
    At first I read is to meant that the “Couple” was taking on Unity.
    Then I read it to mean you were offering a couple of takes on the event.
    I ended up deciding there was some of each meaning present.

  • Zzyzx

    Sorry, Bag, but I think trying to connect between the blue in the photos to the blue of the town hall is really reaching outside the frame. I think more logically, perhaps, is the blue referred to by the ‘pundits’ when they show those cute little maps of democratic states vs. republican (red) states. It IS the same blue, right? Also note catfood’s comment about the Obama blue…..that may be significant. SHE is wearing the blue, to prove to him that she is true blue democrat? Unfortunately, it matches his tie, which is a bit too cute.
    In the Tama shot, what I first noticed was that she is off-balance, then I noticed her hand on the chair for balance, then I noticed her terrible shoes. The material on her pants-leg seems to indicate movement, which adds to my impression that she is off balance and he is offering a hand to steady her. Remember his remark about not knowing how she did it all in heels. The sort of palm/wrist grab of his hand is one of an assist, not courtship.
    I’m not terribly offended by his hand on her shoulder in the Platt shot. I wouldn’t be too quick to read any sexism into it. The sibling rivalry comments above seem appropriate.

  • jmac

    He needs to keep his hands off her.

  • http://www.landsedgephoto.com Emily L. Ferguson

    When I opened the Yahoo Obama gallery on Sat. night and saw the Brandon shots my first thought was that finally Barack looked actually happy. Then, as I looked at more and saw him scowling once in a while, I wondered. Finally I started to feel like they look like wedding photos. The whole gig looked like a wedding. I’m worried about the VP thing now. I thought he had that under control.
    Here are some thoughts the entire event brought to my mind:
    I’m still not sure who the real showman is in this campaign. Is it coming from Barack? Or Ax? If one is determined not to be controlled by the DLC, can one win the election without being a showman? Is it still important to win Bill too, or will it do to win Hillary and leave Bill to stew? Are we done compromising now, please??? Pretty please????

Refresh Archives

Random Notes