Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
May 1, 2010

Heckuva Photo Op, Janet!

<span style="font-size: x-small;">U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.</span>
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.

On one hand, of course, it’s your standard government response photo op given something really bad having gone down offshore.  On the other hand, though, it’s hard not to look at this scene and pose of Janet Napolitano with thinking of the iconic and image-shattering photos of Dubya doing his Katrina fly over.

In this case, however, the photo — taken by a Coast Guard photographer (heh, heh) is actually pretty clever.  With the Administration “all over” the oil spill in the Gulf (especially from a PR standpoint, Obama headed there tomorrow), the resonance between this photo and the infamous Bush version actually serves, by way of comparison, to emphasize — along with all the other Administration buzzing around — that this team actually is “on top of it.”

Of course, the gender difference is interesting too. With Brownie and the boys making such a mess of things “last time,” maybe there’s added distinction having a woman in charge this go round.

(Coast Guard caption:  Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano surveys the oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico, Friday, April 30, 2010 aboard a Coast Guard HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft. Efforts to stop the flow of oil and minimize the impact to environmental and economic resources has been underway since the incident occurred April 20, 2010.)

  • Victoria

    She’s over water, right? – Is the headline meant that she’s too detached, as Bush was? That she should be down there in a boat?

  • NatureGrrrl

    Is she praying? Praying that the oil is stopped soon? That the federal government comes out looking a little better than it did after the Katrina debacle? From the clasped hands it appears so.

    I do appreciate very much the concerned, engaged and yes even *interested* look on her face.

  • Books Alive

    The plane, one of four, was acquired in March, 2010, by the Coast Guard and is based in Miami, according to this article. Looks quite different in Coast Guard livery than the basic model, which is a joint production of Spain and Indonesia, per Wikipedia. The USCG livery bears the racing stripe – Neat!

  • futurebird

    The first thing I thought of was the advancing chaos in her home state.

  • handbags

    I personally have embraced the new technologies and the CMS platforms, I think the new tools only make the web designs better. I am glad that new technologies are coming out in web design that make things easier, improved, and better looking for design.

  • g

    The fact that she is wearing earphones and has a mic break from the Bush photo – she is connected to talk and listen to others. Bush’s photo shows him unconnected. And if you compare body language between this photo and the one Bag links to – it’s very different. Napolitano is serious and focused, the clasped hands are right in the center of view. Bush is hunched over, and his hands and arms are curled in front of his chest as though he’s shielding himself. You can see Napolitano’s eye and follow her gaze. The photo with Bush obscures his eye. Because of the way the photos are in focus, her face is seen in close-up detail. Bush’s face is a mask.

    • Books Alive

      Excellent observations here. I hadn’t thought of the implications of the mic. Headphones worn in a small aircraft are not unexpected for me. But it does lead me to compare this small plane to the luxury of a President in Air Force One. That plane is like a flying hotel with all amenities – no wonder Obama likes using it as much as he does. (He could switch to salads and skip the cheeseburgers, tho’!)

  • hazza1122

    find out how you can generate 50 bucks per day from your own home!! Just swiftly go here surveymoneymaker dot net

Refresh Archives

Random Notes