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November 6, 2008

More Thoughts On The Obama Picture: Pixels And Glass


I wanted to look for a moment at three fascinating and, I believe, important photos courtesy of The BAG’s good friend, photojournalist Tim Fadek. (Yes, by the way, that is the same Timothy Fadek immortalized by this shot last November on the cover of The NYT.)
For me, very simply, each one of these photos Tim captured at the Grant Park victory celebration thematically sets the table for a different political and visual facet of the Obama administration. I would lay it out this way:
Image #1: How is Obama going to manage expectations (the effort already underway) given a tendency to make him larger than life? For our purposes, of course, I’m wondering how this will play out visually. (As just a simple example, have you been noticing all the life-size Obama cut-outs — 1, 2, 3 — that people around the world have been parading with?)
Image #2: You might recall that BushCo. recently remodeled and technically upgraded the WH Press Room? With visual media technology progressing at leaps-and-bounds, I’ll be very interested in how well and creatively Team Obama applies it, and the ways it will shape our impressions over the next 4 years. (When I saw CNN’s holographic demo the other night, it made me wonder if Obama will be the first C.I.C. to give the State of the Union in someone’s living room.) Back to this photo (mindful off all the shots Alan Chin captured at the DNC set up with Obama on the jumbo screen), I find such a lusciousness in not just the video image but the juxtaposition of the digital and real-life.
Image #3 In each of the shots, but particularly the third, what seems both easy as well as impossible to avoid is the security glass.
I didn’t hear much mention of it in the media stories, but visually, it certainly carried a good deal of symbolic weight. In hypothesizing on Obama’s manner that evening (which, in part, I saw as an interest to move it along), it was impossible to dispense with the possibility that the new President-elect, as part of the mix, had some security concerns. Going forward, I don’t want to make an inordinate deal about Obama’s safety. At the same time, I don’t want to avert my eyes when the subject or issue is plain to see.
(image: © Tim Fadek. Grant Park. November 5, 2008. linked image: Diane Bondareff, Associated Press. November 30, 2007. via nytimes.com)

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