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June 7, 2008

Your Turn: Hillary To Womankind

Hrc Portrait D.Winter

# 1: Caption: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton sat for an interview and portrait with The New York Times in March. She waged a presidential campaign that touched every corner of the nation this year, from the winter snows of Iowa to the summer breezes of Puerto Rico. But she fell short of the Democratic nomination, suspending her bid on Saturday.  From: Clinton Cross-Country slide show – 6/7/08 (NYT) image: Damon Winter/The New York Times


Given the unique circumstances I find myself in, I’m stopping about 50% short of my usual process and just spreading out what I’ve got on my desktop.

On a typical day, I come down to 3-5 pictures on a particular (usually news-breaking) subject which I’ll lay out a lot like this.  From there, I’ll study each to find the one which is most: visually interesting; descriptive in a way which captures the largest slice of the politics; and most ambiguous (in a rich, “multiple-story-to-tell” kind of way).

Once I get that far, typically one shot will jump out at me as the most “full,” and I’ll pull my 2 or 3 major thoughts together on it. …But not today.

My problem is, the Clinton withdrawal has generated so many interesting pictures, and the story — in terms of Hillary the person, Hillary the symbol, Hillary’s family, the Clinton legacy, feminism, sexism, sexism vs. racism, etc. — is so complex that I found I couldn’t land in one place.  I can tell you where I was going, which was to concentrate on Hillary’s resonance with womankind, so I’m pleased I could actually arrive at this edit.  For here, though, I could use your help.

Certainly, I have no problem if you have thoughts that cross images.  What would be optimal, however, is to see whether you could bring home “the last 50%” on just one of these photos by elaborating on 2-3 specific details, then offering your take on what the image might have to tell us on the subject.

Besides the shot above, here’s what else I have on the drawing board:

Hillary Texas

#2. Caption: The audience at a rally for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Beaumont, Tex., on the eve of the primary there in March.

From: Clinton Bloc Becomes the Prize for Election Day (6/7/08) Image: Todd Heisler/The New York Times.

Hillary Wonderwoman

#3. Caption: The senator’s rally in Mayfield, Ky., drew some enthusiastic audience members in May.  From: Clinton Cross-Country slide show – 6/7/08 (NYT).  Image: Todd Heisler/The New York Times.

Laura Page Hillary

#4 Caption: Laura Page, 17, wearing the regalia of Teen Miss North Carolina, listened to Mrs. Clinton at an event in Gastonia in May. From: It’s Been a Long Time Running slide show (6/3/08) Image: Damon Winter/The New York Times.

Clinton Pillow

#5. Caption: Some supporters apparently well-versed in Clinton campaigning waited for Mrs. Clinton in Radnor, Pa. From: Clinton Cross-Country slide show – 6/7/08 (NYT).  Image: Béatrice de Géa for The New York Times.

Clinton’s Bid Comes to a Close slide show – 6/7/08 (NYT)

Clinton Cross-Country
slide show – 6/7/08 (NYT)

It’s Been a Long Time Running
slide show -6/3/08 (NYT)

Clinton: No Decision
slide show 6/3/08 (NYT)

Democrats Vote on Role of Florida and Michigan
slide show – 6/1/08  (NYT)

Clinton Bloc Becomes the Prize for Election Day – 6/7/08 (NYT)

At Clinton’s final rally, the scene is more bitter than sweet (McClatchy)

  • paullimorph

    4get misting 4me

  • Tom Traubert

    McClatchy changed the title of their piece to something more appropriate.

  • no drama

    hillary is often chided as lacking authenticity. this, to me, is symbolized by the fact that hillary wears fake blue eye contact lenses. she really has brown eyes.

  • donna

    I dunno, the frosted hair, the too-blue eyes, the extra-pink pink, it’s sort of everything that’s wrong with being an American woman today. I’m a 70’s kid, we were told we didn’t have to do all that shit, we could just be ourselves and that would be ok. Perhaps 60s girls and 70s girls are just that different, but, to me, with the things I was told as I grew up, and then seeing how women have backslid to this again, I’m annoyed. Perhaps the Hillary campaign has just catalyzed all this in me, but, the image she presented just wasn’t the person I wanted to see. I don’t want a woman president who takes us back to all that again, just to be accepted. When we have a woman president, I want her to be first and foremost, herself.

  • donna

    To emphasize on that a bit, I think on the Bag what you’ve shown us is that even when image is supposedly taking precedence, often the real personality shines through, and those are the moments that appeal to us or disgust us at times. We want to see real people, even when we know we are being shown image.
    Take this commentary on Daily Kos today from Hunter, for instance:
    This was not Clinton campaigning, but a carefully plotted, painstakingly shallow image of Clinton. And it did not work, except when it was deviated from. When she showed a tear in New Hampshire, it was accidental, but it was so dramatic an unscripted moment that it worked strongly in her favor. When she attended the debates, by and large she did not just adequately, but passionately. We were left aching for unscripted moments, so commonplace were the scripted ones, with monolithic audiences and carefully plotted messaging…
    But Obama had something Clinton didn’t have, this campaign. He had a powerful persona, more powerful than Clinton’s, possibly more powerful than Bill Clinton’s, who until this year was considered the standard bearer for Democratic eloquence. And as a new figure on the national political scene, Obama’s campaign was mindful to introduce the senator as a new figure.
    Clinton didn’t do that. The Obama campaign sought to introduce himself to the national audience, and sought to explain why he should get your vote; the Clinton campaign frequently seemed to expect it would get your vote, and work backward from there.

  • black dog barking

    #4 has a haunting air about it, Miss Teen North Carolina turned away from the camera lens, completely absorbed in something we can’t see directly, our only clue in the banner sign she holds to her side. Whatever it is, it’s awfully bright.
    There’s something Sixties in the air this new month. Maybe it’s a confluence of hopeless war, youth, politics of national change but I’m hearing that same sixties’ anthem again, different verse:

    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is
    Rapidly fadin’.
    And the first one now
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin’.

  • Emily L. Ferguson

    Ring light? God help us.
    Whoever invented that thing should be shot unless one is shooting orchids or something.
    And overexposed? The pits.
    Now if you want to see a difficult portrait, try John Gress’ one of Axelrod. At the height of the stress and uproar Gress got Ax to smile and look accessible. I’ve got 10 photos of him in my screensaver that show him fierce, pushy, authoritarian, parental (to Obama, no less). Not humorous, cheerful, relaxed. Gress did it.

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