May 11, 2007

Legacy Shot


Oh, there is such a wide variety of images of Tony Blair on the newswire today.

On such occasions, a familiar ritual occurs in which the visual media opens up its vaults — picking from here and choosing from there — to summarize a political life.  In the process, what happens to file photos (that yesterday were only run-of-the-mill) is truly magical.  Each morphs into something fuller and deeper — a legitimate fragment of how it was, how things came to be, and what might have been.  What I appreciate most about this process is the emotional charge.  Each one of these images — immediately upon the shift in the world — becomes a springboard to memories as well as a mirror of dreams.

As I said, it was difficult to pick out one mirror to look through today.  I chose this one because it reflects– in its government-produced, ad-like posturing — the last word on Blair’s tenure: how he cashed in his charisma and popularity in the name of a war that contradicted all the goals for solidarity and brotherhood he has continually espoused.

At the same time, there were a few other images I couldn’t let go of.

From the storehouse of the wire, there was this celebrity cool; this sneaky shot (which provoked the question: maybe George and Tony were actually one in the same); there was this (in a whole different context now); and this signature moment of a most disastrous coming and going.

From the BAGarchive, I whittled the Tony fund down to three.  Of course, there was that sad parting shot from a couple weeks ago, during the Iran hostage debacle.  And, there was this sacred item a little over a year ago.

In honor of the motherland, however, and our keen association here with those cover mavens at The Economist, I felt I would leave you with this trio, and the last word on a relationship Blair, and America, will probably never live down.

(image: Will Craig, British Ministry of Defence/AP. Dec. 22, 2005. caption: Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair poses with British soldiers at Shaibah logistics base in Basra, Iraq.  linked image 1: Bruce Adams/AP. Gleneagles, Scotland. July 6, 2005. caption: Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, who announced Thursday, May 10, 2007 that he would step down on June 27, stands alongside Band Aid founder Bob Geldof on Blair was speaking after meeting Geldof and others at Gleneagles, Scotland, ahead of the G8 summit. Curing his tenure Blair mingled with famous. linked image 2: Tim Sloan/AFP. caption: US President George W. Bush greets people outside Sedgefield Community College in 2003. World leaders will eventually pass judgement on Tony Blair’s tenure at 10 Downing Street but his constituents are just as keen to deliver their verdict. Many fondly remember Bush’s visit to Sedgefield in 2003. linked image 3: REUTERS/Stringer. caption: Britain’s Tony Blair celebrates at the Trimdon Labour Club in Trimdon, northern England in this May 2, 1997 file photograph. Blair said May 10 he will quit on June 27, 10 years after winning power in what was hailed as a new dawn for Britain that has since been darkened by the Iraq war. linked image 4 & 5: Tim Sloan, AFP.  caption: A picture taken 07 June 2005 in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC shows Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush (R) walking together on their way to a press briefing. Blair will celebrate 10 years in power on the first week of May 2007, a landmark clouded by growing questions over his legacy as he prepares finally to stand down. all via YahooNews.)

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Michael Shaw
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