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January 15, 2009

“Obama’s People”: I’ve Got Better Things To Do


In brief small talk, Rahm likens this to Bar Mitzvah pic, but it feels more like the DMV.
Eeking a smile while tucking middle finger, “get it over with” Rahm looks beyond us.

Update: Thanks to the readership for the anatomical reminder about Rahm and the meat slicer.

Obama’s People – The Series (photos by Nadav Kander/NYT Mag)

Behind “Obama’s People” – Editor’s Note (NYT Mag)

  • Saleema

    He looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world. I also get the feeling from the picture that he does not care. His body is so relaxed and his mind is somewhere else. Not the picture I want to have of Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual

  • marc sobel

    I thought that that was the finger he lost part of in an accident while working at a deli.
    Obama manages to turn it into a joke at a roast when I concludes the sentence by saying, “rendering him practically mute”

  • John Blankenbaker

    Isn’t he missing part of the middle finger of his right hand because of an accident with a meat slicer? That might just be what the finger looks like, or he tucks it out of habit because it doesn’t have a nail. Either way I don’t think you should read that particular gesture as meaning anything.
    The look on his face, on the other hand…

  • vegjeannie

    “In his youth, Mr. Emanuel badly cut a finger on a meat slicer while working at an Arby’s. The wound became infected, and he lost half of the middle finger on his right hand. The shortened digit is something of a trademark.”
    from NYT

  • bystander

    Well, since others have already given you the scoop on Rahm’s injury, I’ll simply point out that it appears you forgot to close an italics tag. ;-)

  • gmoke

    Immediate thought was “That’s one arrogant m#th*rf^ck#r.”

  • Johanna

    That is his trademark stance, hands supported on belt. Maybe to show off the distinctive finger. For many years the story was that he lost the finger fighting in the Israeli defense force, a story he either put out or let stand until more recent times, when the Arby’s accident story was confirmed.

  • JayDenver

    I’m not sure Mr. Kander was doing [almost] any of Obama’s staff any favors in this photo series (read/listen to the comments of the NYTimes story). As Emanuel reportedly said during his brief time with the photographer and assistant(s), “Hey, there are important things going on…” and he was out of there. I see impatience with trappings and trivialities. I also see a person who may not like to be photographed in this way. I came across a number of them during a previous career as a portrait photographer. Some people just don’t feel comfortable “posing” in front of the camera. They do much better when they are involved in something.
    Having said all this, I like the look of impatient [and somewhat amused] tolerance on his face. It’s like the next shot will be Rahm checking the time and the one after that, a blur as he heads out the door. Did Kander “capture” Emanuel’s personality? Maybe not, but it does tell a story.

  • Julie L

    I like this shot, too. Def says “Dayum. I have real work to do, and you want me to look PRETTY?”

  • nellie

    Well said JayDenver. A couple of my favorite photos of the lot are Rahm and David Axelrod, precisely because they don’t appear to take it seriously. Nothing against those who did, but couple of the subjects seem to be quite taken with themselves. ;)

  • JulieZS

    I love his expression, it says “can we just get this over with I have more important things to do.” His body position looks like he is just about to move. But the first thing I noticed was how incredibly tired and exhausted he looks. The dark circles under his eyes plus his dark eyebrows give a raccoon effect to his face.

  • cherish

    I went through the series, and this really is my favorite image. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, c’mon, push the @#%^%$# button and take the shot, I’m outta here.”
    We all are, Rahm. We all are.

  • pufflehuff

    He looks like he’s going to be the source of some fun stories over the next 8 years!

  • cenoxo

    We all are, Rahm. We all are.
    Well, we have one advantage over him if needed: we can flip off the Right and the Left.

  • Molly

    At first glance, I thought the decorations on this belt were bullets. He sorta has that gunslinger look about him, huh?

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