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March 24, 2013

Obama in the Middle East: Framing the Shot

Obama Abdullah Amman 1

I’m still sifting through images for a post on Obama’s visit to Israel, and especially, the West Bank. In the meantime, I was interested in these two photos by Reuters’ Larry Downing.

In off-the-record conversations with news photographers, a topic that comes up constantly is the extreme scripting and control of photo ops exercised by the Administration. It’s curious to me that the photo below was even released. Is it because it conveys the degree to which the Obama visit was such a media event? Or, maybe it’s interesting because it’s so kinetic. What I’m not sure it does, however — especially because the caption (below) plays it so close to the vest — is convey how thoroughly subjected the visual media is.

Paired with the supposedly intimate photo of Obama sauntering in to the Amman Palace with Jordan’s King Abdullah, however, it makes for a script-defying medley. (Also in the mix, perhaps, is just how much politics in the region is also defined by control over territory).

Obama Abdullah Amman 2

(photos: Larry Downing/Reuters caption: U.S. President Barack Obama is escorted by Amman by Jordan’s King Abdullah II towards a private meeting at Al Hummar Palace in Amman, Jordan, March 22, 2013. caption 2: Members of the press following U.S. President Barack Obama rush towards a meeting hosted by Jordan’s King Abdullah II at Al Hummar Palace in Amman, Jordan, March 22, 2013.)

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