Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
February 10, 2008

Starting Out All Thumbs


Leave it to photojournalist and political commentarist Christoper Morris to elevate and accentuate the dis-ease with McCain. 

Ever since Super Tuesday night, when this shot was captured during Mac's Phoenix victory celebration, the conservatives have been casting their reservations, as have primary voters. 

On the surface, someone — perhaps a staff member — appears to be emulating the "double thumbs up."  Beyond the mocking quality of an out-of-scale, disembodied and shadowy extremity, however, what makes the photo so strange is John and Cindy's perceived orientation to the audience.  Given the angle, it looks more like "thumbs up guy" (representing that "can do" candidate the GOP couldn't come up with?) is gesturing to the crowd while the McCains are facing who knows who?  And, there's your problem.  Like those lesser flip-floppers who have since faded away, it's hardly clear what audience McCain lines up with.

But back to the hand. 

That thumb is not so high that it reads like an affirmation.  In fact, with the cocked thumb and that silvery shine on the knuckles, it offers a bit of a "bang, bang" impression.  Not to suggest that McCain is in mortal danger, but as we know, the campaign (particularly from the right) is already serving as target practice.

image from: Does McCain Have the Right Stuff?  (TIME)

(image: Christopher Morris VII/TIME.  Phoenix.  Tuesday, February 5, 2008.

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