May 5, 2007

The Queen Honors Our History … And Other Colorful Subjects


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Queen Elizabeth paid tribute Thursday to a ragtag band of adventurers who founded America’s first permanent English settlement, but also the “great civilizations” of native and African peoples that together forged a bloody tryst with destiny 400 years ago.

— AFP Photo Caption/Timothy Clary

Initially, I was going to offer you Annie Leibovitz’s newly-unveiled portrait of Queen Elizabeth and let you cogitate on what all the controversy was about.  (Queen looks too much like George Washington? Like Queen Mother?  Like Helen Mirren?)  (Link.) But then I thought, celebrity — as a political issue — swallows up enough space here already.

Studying the first wave of images from the British invasion, what jumps out is the Queen’s effort to put a more “multicultural” spin on her visit (as is the theme in this Jamestown anniversary year).  Specifically, I was interested in the visual interplay between newswire shots of the Queen in Virginia and the NYT coverage of the royally-manic state dinner preparations at the White House.


In The BAG’s diptychs above, the top pics are newswire shots, the first from a ceremony at the Jamestown Settlement Museum, the second from a ceremony at the Virginia statehouse.  The bottom images were pulled from the NYT slideshow detailing the White House spruce-up.


Finally, I had to also offer you this shot from the NYT slideshow.  If you take the caption at its word, it depicts: “Amy Zantzinger, the new White House social secretary, with a screen that shows table arrangements for the state dinner.”  I had a choice association or two — really choice, I’d say — but then, the shot is so wonderful, so evocative, I wanted you to feast on it.

As I do from time to time, I especially invite loyal lurkers and first-time responders to roll around in the threads with us.

(image 1: Jim Young/AP. May 4, 2007. Jamestown Settlement museum.  Williamsburg, Va. YahooNews. image 2: Doug Mills/The New York Times. White House. May 4, 2007. caption: Aides to the first lady shared a few dos and don’ts in anticipation of the event. For women, curtseying is acceptable but not required. One does not shake the queen’s hand unless the queen offers hers first. image 3: Fiona Hanson/AP. Virginia Capitol Building. Richmond, Va. YahooNews. image 4: Doug Mills/The New York Times. White House. May 4, 2007. caption: Workers cleaned the floor of the East Room on Friday for the queen’s visit. Aides say the state dinner is the social event of the entire Bush presidency. image 5. Doug Mills/The New York Times. White House. May 4, 2007.

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Michael Shaw
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