Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
September 16, 2011

TIME’s Rick Perry “Near-Nomination” Cover

TIME PerryCover

Rockstar photographer, Platon, has done five presidential candidate covers for TIME, three of Obama, one of McCain, and one of Obama and McCain. (You can see them here on Platon’s site.) Of those five, two of them employ the distinctive and dramatic style above, the candidate’s head seeming to float in space against a mostly black background. I say “distinctive” as much for the effect as the fact these covers are practically iconic by now.

So, you remember my problem with TIME’s “death of bin Laden” cover? the one where they “X’d” him out with two red lines across his face. Having used the “cross out” effect three times previously, first on Hitler, then on Saddam Hussein, and then on an al Qaeda bad guy in Iraq the U.S. military had been making a lot of noise about, my argument was that covers “of a type” carry meaning in this hyper-visual, “Google-Imaged” world we’re all surfing around in.

Which leads me back to Platon, the latest TIME cover, and the overnight-sensation, Rick Perry. Now, assigning someone the likes of Platon to shoot a Perry cover is going to automatically lend a gravity you would otherwise give to someone “just that far away” from the GOP nomination (as if the media primary was the only one that counts this year anyway).

Obama McCain Platon TIME covers

But then, considering Platon and TIME, up to now, reserved the “big floating head” treatment for shoe-in nominees, Obama and McCain, and their respective Denver and Minneapolis coronation issues, the treatment charges-up the affably-faced newbie (and Beetles fan) with almost an air of inevitability.

…Oh, and here’s our Tumble on the other three editions.

  • Anonymous

    Without the caption I’d not have known who this was. Looks like yet another generic smug white guy. Like Oliver Stone for example.

  • Amir Goy

    ….could just as easily appear on a ‘Wanted’ poster.

  • Molly Whipple Douthett

    Looking forward to someone morphing the picture with W.

  • Linda

    That’s one of the most frightening pics I’ve seen in a very very long time. Assuming Perry as a shoe-in makes me want to look frantically through my medicine cabinet to see if there are any meds I can take to dull the painful thought of having to actually be governed by this monster.
    I have also contemplated jumping off my first floor balcony…

  • Pingback: TIME’s “Big Floating Head” Cover of Rick Perry | mothercordes

  • Enoch Root

    Perry/Palin 2012! Woo! Slit your wrists now!

  • Anonymous

    Does it look to anyone else as if Obama was shot dead-level, while the other two were shot from a slightly upward angle?

    BTW, I’m about a third of the way into Errol Morris’s Believing Is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography). I’m finding it fascinating and thought-provoking.

    • Dave McLane

      Yep, sure does.

  • tinwoman

    The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

    Perry looks like the gorilla general.

  • tinwoman

    The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

    Perry looks like the gorilla general.

  • Jonathan

    He DOES look thuggish. Is he intentionally unshaven? 

Refresh Archives

Random Notes