Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 30, 2007

Shading Obama


The image above — taken while Obama was waiting to be introduced at a campaign event in South Carolina — was the "Barack entry" in TIME's just released Images of the Year.  Employing the shadow, the implication is that this meditative Obama is personally split between dark and light.

Yesterday's NYT front page feature exhibited a similar split, chiding Obama throughout for not being more responsive or accountable to traditional African-American issues and power brokers.


The image leading that article conjures its own suggestion of conflict.  By exploiting the reflection in a car window, what is actually a friendly, face-to-face moment between Obama and Jesse Jackson is refashioned to seem like Obama has turned his back on Jackson, leaving the civil rights icon behind while Jackson attempts to hold on to him.

Is it so threatening to corporate media that Obama identifies himself, not as a black politician, but as a politician who happens to be black?  And why the need to cast him as either one or the other, or as someone particularly torn between the two?

A Biracial Candidate Walks His Own Fine Line (NYT)

The Year In Images (TIME)

(h/t: Chris & Jacob.  image 1: Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME.  image 2: Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press. June, 2007.

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