March 18, 2007

The Conservatives' Undertaker


Four years ago, shifting the focus of The BAG to concentrate solely on news images, my sense was that pictures would soon take on a much higher role in political media and advocacy.

On Friday, Pentagram had a wonderful spread on the TIME redesign.  Reviewing the pages, we see how the magazine is cutting back the words;  morphing more into a web adjunct; and delivering a larger part of the story in a form we’re more regularly familiar with around here.

Design notwithstanding, however, let’s not overlook the visual dynamics of this particular issue.

How pathetic for McCain.  The campaign hasn’t even gotten going yet, and he’s framed as the poster boy for a suddenly drowning movement.  Given the comparative size and symmetric relationship between the “How The Right Went Wrong” title and the candidate himself, McCain gets slammed as both product and culprit.

If you view the lead article (also on the cover, and referenced in the McCain caption), however, the candidate is visually dealt a more devastating blow.  Noting how Reagan, himself, held up McCain to the nation as a conservative model, TIME has specifically turned McCain (looking akin to an undertaker) into the Gipper’s crying shame.

(image 1: Joe Pugliese.  TIME via  image 2: David Hume Kennerly.  Tear by Tim O’Brian.  TIME. Mar. 26, 2007.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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