February 15, 2008

When You Subtract Lewis


How often, as regards a political campaign, do you find yourself thinking about negative space?

This shot was taken on October 12th, the day Representative Lewis — the influential congressman and civil rights veteran, as well as long time friend and supporter of the Clintons — gave his endorsement to Hillary.  The image surfaced yesterday after the Georgian and super delegate reversed that commitment.

The act of going in and mentally extracting the Representative from this picture has an immediate cognitive effect.  In the void, a number of assumptions — previously held by embrace — start to float free.  The perceived political power of the Clintons, the depth and endurance of the Clinton bond with the black community, and even the authoritative capital of the Hillary campaign become fundamentally indeterminate.

Then, Hillary’s newswire pose (as contrasted with Lewis’ more grounded and introspective look);  the citizen-paparazzi, motivated as much or more by celebrity as substance; and the fact the mostly black crowd is more spatially aligned with Lewis, while Hillary lines up with the one (mostly obscured) black woman, plus a parking lot, only further diminishes the Clinton grasp.

image from: Black Leader, a Clinton Ally, Tilts to Obama (NYT)

(image: John Nowak for The New York Times.  October 12, 2007. nytimes.com)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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