January 6, 2006

The Presence Of Absence


With the all the posing, posturing and persuasion that comes with statecraft, poignancy is not an attribute one commonly associates with political photographs.  (Which makes the exception truly worthwhile.)

Demonstrating that you can create a brilliant portrait of a person without the necessity of his presence, Photographer Lior Mizrahi captures just how vital Ariel Sharon has been to the state of Israel.  (As an expression of a “not-living, and yet not-deceased” Sharon, this photo also reminds me of the image of Pope John Paul when he knew — and wanted us to know — he was going to pass.)

And, the stricken Ehud Olmert keeps nothing to himself.  His countenance reminds me of Joan Didion’s recent eloquent and aching recitation of the loss of husband John Gregory Dunne.  Looking at Olmert, you don’t see one man so much as “half a pair.”

(image: Lior Mizrahi/BauBau, via Reuters.  January 6, 2006. The New York Times. p. A1)

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Michael Shaw
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