Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
April 1, 2009

Your Turn: That Was Then, This Is Now



Update 9:24pm:

Can you see any contrast in style comparing Obama's first presidential trip to England a with Bush's trip in '03? 

What about the fact the men are positioned on the outside in the top photo? This arrangement suggests a lot about the characters involved, particularly Bush — who, for all his supposed affiliation with Blair, lacked the temperament to get close with anyone. Obama, on the other hand, puts Bush to shame just in his friendly attitude.

(image: Julian Herbert/Getty Images. caption: U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura pose on the step of 10 Downing Street with Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie on November 20, 2003 in London. Bush is in London on a four day official state visit which has sparked massive street protests across the capital.) (image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe. caption: Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah Brown (L) meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife first lady Michelle Obama in Downing Street on April 1, 2009 in London, England. Obama is on his first trip to the UK as President and will be attending G20 world leaders' summit dedicated to tackling the global financial crisis).
  • Withnail

    Well, it’s nice to have a president who actually looks happy to be there. And an entire group not looking like they’re deer caught in the headlights.
    Bush and Laura’s pose reminds me of how Dick and Lynn Cheney stood when meeting the Bidens. Straight backs, straight arms, no smiles in their eyes at all.

  • creditking

    Let’s hope we have entered an “era of good feeling.” With all due respect, Sarah Brown and her aides must have been a nervous wrecks deciding what to wear against Michelle.

  • Kt Davis

    Brown and Obama have some excellent goals too–I certainly hope they stick to them and that these goals, at least in part, come true. More financial stimulation and a focus on free trade come to mind. Still, there were thousands of people protesting the summit meeting this week, not to mention the numerous dissents given by countries like China, France and Russia over Obama/Brown’s financial hopeful plans. I watched an interesting video on all of this at earlier today. The video highlights the President and the Prime Minister’s meeting and gives different perspectives on the event. It’s worth watching:

  • Withnail

    Well, of course there are protesters. The protesters are, for the most part, Socialists and Anarchists. This is not a judgement – they want a Radical change in the status quo. Good for them. And no matter how much of a chance candidate he was or President he is – Obama is now the Leader of the Free World. He is by nature the Status Quo. He’s a malleable quo, one more open to new ideas than anyone else might be, but he’s still in charge of making sure that the banks function and business (capitalism) runs smoothly.
    I hope they do protest. And I hope that he listens, as much as he is able to.

  • DennisQ

    The picture of the Blairs and the Bushes is awful. Laura looks like a ventriloquist’s puppet – all you’d need to complete the image are straight lines from the corners of her mouth to her chin. Bush’s suit is rumpled like he’d slept on the plane, and Tony Blair’s jacket is askew. I don’t know enough about Cherie Blair to say whether the picture flatters her or not; I suspect it doesn’t. That’s not exactly a winning smile.
    Incidentally, aren’t photographers supposed to deep-six the bad pictures? People who are photographed all the time have unguarded moments when they sneeze or when they cast a sidewards glance, etc. It’s basic fairness to give the subjects of press photography an honest representation of what they usually look like. For what it’s worth, I’ll stipulate that Laura Bush generally does not look like a dummy.

  • Rapier

    Brown and Labor are in a world of hurt. Britain is in an even more precarious fiscal and monetary crisis than the US. Labors abandonment of principal under Blair even more profound than the Democrats under Clinton. Both institutionalizing the financial excesses which have brought us to this point.
    Both Brown, who was a player in the disaster, and Obama still wedded politically to the financial sphere. Brown and Labor are essentially dead men walking. Luckily, for now Obama has no opposition but a brain dead GOP. Still I cringe seeing Obama there. It bodes ill.

  • oliviacw

    I like the agreement in tie color in each photo. Red for the Bush/Blair set, and blue for the Obama/Brown set.

  • ids

    Bewildered, disgusted, shocked, yes it’s fcked up, & we belong here
    Look who’s sneaking in, slick, the digital age 10 is in control, hi kids, having a fun vacation

  • yg

    blair imported from the US the clinton brand of deregulation.

  • Sister Faith

    George is trying to look “presidential”……Obama doesn’t have to try!

  • yg

    i saw some of the footage of the different leaders walking down the red carpet to be greeted by gordon brown. barack and michelle were the only couple i saw holding hands. and in between posings, sarah brown looked quite sad.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes