Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
May 4, 2008

BagNewsSalon: "Pictures in the News": Spring ’08

“Pictures in the News” is a discussion of selected images that have been featured on BAGnewsNotes over the past week or two. 

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Hillary/Obama composite – TIME Magazine Cover

16:11 MichaelShaw I was wondering what reactions you had to the TIME image of two weeks ago forming a composite between Hillary and Obama…

16:12 Nathan I think it signals political death.

16:12 loret steinberg The juxtapoxition of the two images is certainly interesting…. Obama’s more gentle expression makes Clinto’s expression look pretty wild.

16:12 littlestgator I thought the choice of b/w vs. sepia was interesting— sepia, kind of old time, old school nostalgia, B/w also classic, but not compared to the sepia

16:13 Nathan The tension it creates, with the sepia and B& W adn the declaration of defeat creates a self=defeat, It feels like to me.

16:13 littlestgator he gets “there Can”

16:13 littlestgator she gets “one”

16:13 loret steinberg Does anyone think that the differences in the quality of light in the two time images have an impact?

16:14 Nathan I do.

16:14 littlestgator kind of a ref. to his yes we can, her kind of more ego driven clinton machine… (though as is obvious I am biased)

16:14 littlestgator the softer focus on his is striking- her’s is more sharp. clear

16:15 lucaites All of this can go in multiple directions. The eye is naturlaly drawn first to the left side,so we could say that BO frames our reading of the image … she is contextualized by him.

16:15 MichaelShaw In what way(s)?

16:16 Mario Tama Thank you John. For sure I think if I were to go back in time to RIT lighting class, Obama- nice, Hillary- re-shoot

16:16 lucaites Plus balck and white — or more properly gray scale,seems more “real” or “authentic” than the “sepia” which, in an age of photoshop, is really something on the order of kitsch

16:16 littlestgator I still think the choice of b/w vs. sepia is the more signifcant undertone to the image

16:16 Nathan I also think the left-right dynamic, combined with the tonal change, effectively accentuates disjunciton in unity

16:16 loret steinberg i

16:16 littlestgator not kitch, nostalgia… for the 90’s, for the party as they imagine it… for old school politics?

16:17 loret steinberg I agree — the natural tonality on Obama looks more natural. The sepia and use of flash is unnatural..

16:17 Nathan I like the kitsch angle

16:17 lucaites maybe nostalgia in an older day, but now everyone can do it … and easily so … maybe, in a sense, nostalgia becomes a version of kitsch

16:17 Michael Steinberg A subliminal whiff of fraudulence?

16:17 littlestgator that would cover a lot of her campaign tone

16:17 Nathan nostalgia generated at need becomes kitsch?

16:18 lucaites plus looks at the eys. His are making contact iwth us, she looks like she is drugged out … her irises completely open

16:18 littlestgator what do you think of can vs. one as the key words on each half

16:18 loret steinberg One of the things I fear is that voters now think by association — visually, do we respond to colors of suits and hair and the environment rather than the substance?

16:18 loret steinberg a

16:18 lucaites I have to leave for a short time folks …ahve to pick up my daughter. … hope to be back in about 30 minutes.

16:19 Nathan by John

16:19 davi schonauer I think we have to say that we do respond to suit colors and hair.

16:20 Nathan I am not sure I buy the substance vs. connotation distinction. I don’t know of many contexts when substance is free of association or association cannot be associated back to substance.

16:20 Nathan Which is not say people do not respond to color, clothing, etc.

16:20 Nathan I just don’t know if that distinction is effective is summing up what is happening visually in politics.

16:20 MichaelShaw I wonder about the romantic dimension here, like there can be a synthesis when these two are tearing each other apart (or, at least she has been pretty agressive), spurred on, in fact, by the media, TIME, etc.

16:21 Mario Tama hillary is set aganst a cave-like backdrop as a specimin while obama is set in a cafe as a moment in time

16:21 davi schonauer To me there isn’t much togetherness in this image. It’s about opposites stuck together against their wills

16:22 Nathan I agree davi. And to add, this hybrid being must lose half of itself to survive, hence the morbidity encoded in the image.

16:22 Michael Steinberg Or the Democratic party of two minds?

16:22 Nathan yes

16:23 MichaelShaw I guess it’s also about the gender and racial divide

16:23 loret steinberg Perhaps this cover does, indeed, depict the nature of the race…

16:23 MichaelShaw On BNN, one thing I observed was how TIME calls the race even, through this visual, when in fact Obama has a significant lead statistically…

16:24 Al anyone think it is strange that the O in ONLY is perfectly in the center between the two sides?

16:24 littlestgator I don’t think it is about racial divides

16:24 Al cf. Obama’s O logo

16:24 littlestgator since they then would have used color photos

16:24 Nathan Isn’t it also the case that left signals “older” or familiar and right the new? If so, is there a little irony in the two halves?

16:25 littlestgator left liberal right conservative too

16:25 MichaelShaw Interesting point. Could you imagine it the other way around…

16:25 loret steinberg I’m not sure about the “o” and the left/right old and new — seems more literal than visual

16:25 Nathan ah, good point

16:26 loret steinberg One thing worth noting is that we read left to right in our culture, so we see Obama’s calmer gaze and then Clinton’s seems even more startling.

16:26 Nathan yes

16:26 littlestgator that is true

16:26 Mario Tama great point

16:26 davi schonauer Ultimately, the cover is really quite unattractive; I feel like the end product is a very damaged person. I wonder how it did on the newsstand. My instinct is that is probably won’t do well.

16:27 Nathan as John noted earlier, Obama becomes the context for seing Hillary because of the l-r reading

16:27 loret steinberg I do wish we could talk to the picture editor at TIME and find out if they had even considered any of the impact

16:27 Nathan Am I in company when I say the image just makes me tense?

16:27 davi schonauer For me, yes.

16:27 loret steinberg The clearest message is that there is a significant difference between the candidates. And, yes, the image is disturbing.

16:28 MichaelShaw Tense, yes. Isn’t “damaged person” intentional, though, since the race is so fractious?

16:28 Nathan If that is what TIME wanted, they pulled it off.

16:28 Michael Steinberg Surely this was one of those imageswhere the idea came first, and a lot of the visua imact6 probby didn’t occur to the art director…

16:28 davi schonauer I agree.

16:28 Nathan it does feel like a very concept driven image that went in search of design.

16:29 Sion Touhig apparently the image is ‘inspired’ by an ad:

16:29 Sion Touhig

http://tinyurl.com/5t3p995t3p99

16:29 loret steinberg There’s usually a discussion, especially about cover images, but often there’s little time for reflection about the meaning of the photograph.

16:29 Nathan Thanks Sion, very interesting

16:29 MichaelShaw But David, were you implying that “damaged person” is bad for sales?

16:30 loret steinberg Absolutely – thanks. Although the idea is classic, the idea is way too close in concept. Copyright issue?

16:30 Sion Touhig its some kind of US sports thing, but Im totally ignorant about that…rivalry between two players?

16:30 Nathan yes

16:30 Mario Tama isn’t hillary’s image aligned gradually slightly higher than obama? eyebrows, nose, mouth…

16:30 davi schonauer Only that an unattractiveness will generally hurt. People might want to look away rather than buy.

16:31 loret steinberg Michael — I’d think that people would respond to the split and want to read the article, even though the image is unsettling.

16:31 black dog barking Unattractive like a car wreck? That might sell.

16:31 littlestgator eyes seem even but not the rest

16:32 Sion Touhig direct ringflash for Hilary…more flattering natural light for the ‘Bamster…but maybe it was the only frontal images they could get from file

16:32 davi schonauer Yes, maybe that’s true. Do you think the point is that the race is a car wreck?

16:32 littlestgator I doubt these were the only ones they could get

16:32 Nathan The lip-merge also creates a smirk no one can actually own.

16:33 davi schonauer I hate to say this, but I don’t see a smirk. I see a stroke victim

16:33 littlestgator he looks very determined but I can’t get a feeling for her thoughts from her eye in this picture

16:33 Hubris Sonic It reminds me of that woman who had the face transplant in the UK

16:33 Nathan ha!

16:33 Mario Tama in the end it disembodies both

16:34 littlestgator makes a joint ticket seem even less probable or appealing

16:34 Hubris Sonic her image is ghostly

16:34 Nathan exactly, mario, reduces them to the contest and nothing more

16:34 MichaelShaw I think this doesn’t bode well for the Democrats — which, pardon my bias — is what the cover was going for…

16:34 littlestgator yes

16:34 MichaelShaw (What I thought it was for…)

16:34 Hubris Sonic the 2nd image, otherness

16:34 loret steinberg It’s clear that the image grabs attention. I think that’s the point. The important thing is to compare some of the photographs inside, accompanying the text. And it does appear to be a single person with a serious split. Definitely the message, Michael.

16:35 Nathan that is what I feel in regard to morbidity – it is stipulating the self-defeat of the dems

Newsweek article: Obama’s “Otherness.”

(Original BNN post with full image and titled version.)

16:35 MichaelShaw Perhaps we could transition to the second image, the shot of Obama on the train platform — from Newsweek

16:35 Hubris Sonic and is about to get hit by the 12:30 from Tulsa

16:35 Hubris Sonic dont cross over Barack!

16:35 Mario Tama lol Hubris

16:35 littlestgator Also the blurry guy all the way on the right seems to have his hands on his hips in an agressive stance

16:35 Al reminds me of that Tracy Chapman song — ‘over the tracks / that separate whites from blacks’

16:35 loret steinberg The image of Obama is almost editorial… he’s standing, helpless, on the other side of the tracks and can’t reach the people on the other side

16:36 Hubris Sonic they are blurry and out of focus

16:36 littlestgator he looks a bit tired too

16:36 littlestgator shoulders kind of sagging

16:36 black dog barking I see Spinal Tap in that image. Their audience bored and heckling …

16:36 Nathan a pol in search of a constituency

16:36 Sion Touhig it reminded me of that famous image of Babe Ruth shot from the back when hes old and tired

16:36 MichaelShaw Here’s the post I did, btw, which shows the image alone AND the one with the title over it:

http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/2008/04/ob…

16:36 Hubris Sonic caution lights on the signals over there

16:36 Nathan maybe it is a reality TV premise

16:36 loret steinberg Obama and the public are standing and looking at each other…. but there’s no clear connection or contact. That’s what I meant about helpless and editorializing.

16:37 black dog barking Isn’t BHO swarmed whereever he goes? Where’d they get this pic ??

16:37 Nathan You have two sets of tracks and a fence to cross to reach the people – the impossibility of O’s “hope”?

16:38 littlestgator why is everything underlined in our chat now?

16:38 loret steinberg Editors try to select images that depict the content of stories and how they interpret that content. It appears that editors in the past two weeks have been selecting images that show Obama in a weaker position…

16:38 davi schonauer This is a marvelous picture. Lot’s to look at and think about. Can we tell whether the audience is black or white?

16:38 black dog barking Impossibility of hope, elitist on the other side of the tracks …

16:38 littlestgator I hate the wrong side of the tracks feeling, really disgusting editorial slant

16:38 loret steinberg I enlarged it as much as possible and there appear to be a couple peope of color….

16:38 lucaites I’m back.

16:38 Hubris Sonic there is a desire to project unto the people on the platform a message.. what are they saying.. are they friends or foes.

16:39 MichaelShaw I think the ambiguity re: the race of the people opposite is one of the most interesting things about the pic.

16:39 Nathan they seem to be taking Obama in as an attraction or oddity

16:39 Hubris Sonic Obama’s back

16:39 Mario Tama I actually think it is a legitimate portrait, Obama is a man on his own side of “the tracks”, like no other candidate in history, the other side is…american history?

16:40 littlestgator no one on the otherside is smiling or waving… no happy viewers

16:40 Nathan it reminds me of the ubiquitous “behind the performer” shot in films and music videos, only here it is placed in politics on the road

16:40 davi schonauer Strangely, I actually sense a kind of…not hope, but a kind of waiting. We’re waiting to see what Obama will do next, and how the people will respond.

16:40 Hubris Sonic above the crowd

16:40 loret steinberg Good point, Mario — he is, indeed, on his own.

16:40 Sion Touhig i thought it had a MLK vibe…you know that speech about ‘Ive seen the promised land, might not get there with ya…”

16:40 littlestgator was this taken in PA?

16:40 lucaites Plus, the image actually invites us to see the world from his perspective

16:40 loret steinberg I wonder how many white folks thought of that, Sion??

16:41 Hubris Sonic have to be down south I suspect

16:41 Nathan but is he alone?

16:41 Hubris Sonic We have his back

16:41 Nathan is is unique

16:41 Sion Touhig no idea mate…its like he can see where he wants to go…but theres still a long way to go…

16:41 Nathan but his support has been extraordinary

16:41 loret steinberg In the picture he is alone. We have to remember that even if there were 400 people around him, the message of the picture is clear.

16:41 Hubris Sonic yes

16:41 lucaites But what does “having his back” mean? It could actually put us “behind him” as a phallanx … support for the leader …

16:42 davi schonauer Is he heroic in the picture?

16:42 lucaites Really Loret? What is the clear message?

16:42 Nathan we get to see him without him seeing us, the viewer is advantaged visually

16:42 littlestgator In the bigger shot on Michael’s previous post you can see what he is standing on. He is very very close to the edge of the platform

16:42 MichaelShaw I would love to agree with Mario and Hubris, etc., but contextually, it’s hard to see this as admirable when Obama is being so marginalized in the political sphere right now

16:43 Mario Tama it’s a cliffhanger image

16:43 littlestgator it is def. a negative impact image

16:43 Michael Steinberg It’s different from the traditional behind the back shot, which is often over-the-shoulder, a substitute for a subjective shot where the viewer identifies with thr seaker..not so here.

16:43 Hubris Sonic I keep waiting for the train to whiz by

16:43 Nathan that is what I was referring to — accentuating isolation which is at odds with his financial and voter support

16:43 lucaites Michael — I think “marginalized” is really not the right word here.

16:43 littlestgator isolated

16:43 littlestgator alone?

16:43 littlestgator tired?

16:43 Sion Touhig yeah its ‘the lonely man’ pic

16:43 Mario Tama Are we talking about the image or the image with the text over it?

16:43 Hubris Sonic off track

16:44 littlestgator wrong side of the tracks

16:44 littlestgator wanting to cross over

16:44 lucaites I agree the text makes a big — huge– difference. i was just looking at the image.

16:45 MichaelShaw The caption “promotes” it as: “Otherness”

16:45 Nathan Translating difference into isolation or separation – a visual equivocation that contradicts his popularity

16:45 Hubris Sonic seems like an editoral projection.

16:46 loret steinberg The image alone makes Obama stand apart and it can be read as his being separate from the people on the other side of the fence. The text suggests a more emphatic otherness…..

16:46 lucaites I agree Michael. The caption is needed, so to speak, and it makes all the difference in the world, removing ambiguity.

16:46 Nathan What if they had done a story about how is like so a lot of previous candidates?

16:46 Nathan Obama’s “commoness”

16:46 Hubris Sonic plenty of other ways to show his otherness, rail is a lower class way to travel. look at the people, they are wealthy americans

16:47 loret steinberg How are you interpreting them as wealthy?

16:47 Hubris Sonic i meant not wealtyh

16:47 Hubris Sonic stupid fingers

16:47 lucaites I think the “wealthy” comment was tongue in cheeck. Note that BO has a “collar” and they don’t …

16:47 Hubris Sonic a white one

16:47 lucaites Exactly.

16:48 Michael Steinberg ot an image that shows us something but a visual presentation of something we’ve already decided.

16:48 Michael Steinberg e

16:48 Michael Steinberg sorry–I was trying 6o add

16:48 Michael Steinberg e

16:48 littlestgator also distance distance distance… many train shots would show the opposite tracks much closer… this is quite a spead

16:48 MichaelShaw Being on the other platform, isn’t he also traveling in opposite direction from the townspeople?

16:49 Hubris Sonic he seems to be going nowhere

16:49 littlestgator yes

16:49 Nathan and train tracks as marking separation is so racially embedded, regardless of editorial choice, the image travels with those connotations.

16:49 littlestgator feels very sad at a deep level

16:50 loret steinberg I don’t think anyone appears to be going anywhere in the picture. The confrontation and consideration of each other appears (in the image) to be a permanent situation

16:50 Hubris Sonic is that a “white house” across the tracks?

16:50 Hubris Sonic unreachable

16:50 black dog barking house on the hill.

16:50 loret steinberg No columns or security, though. Sometimes a white house is just a white house.

16:50 Mario Tama it’s as if he’s on wrong side of the tracks in either direction

16:50 loret steinberg Absolutely.

16:51 Nathan waiting in his otherness, isolated, and immobile

16:51 MichaelShaw Does the white house pull for sense that it’s a “white” town. Emphasizing his trouble attracting white blue collar support?

16:51 lucaites lucaites

16:51 Hubris Sonic with beer belly joe six pack over there

16:51 MichaelShaw Oops, missed Loret’s “just a white house” comment…

16:51 Nathan I think the blue collar/white color gap is definitely implicated

16:52 MichaelShaw Well, he is standing out there in his suit pants…

16:52 Nathan with his bottled water

16:52 Al i think there would be a very different read on this image pre-“bitter”

16:52 black dog barking BHO fancy rhetoric does him no good here …

16:52 davi schonauer The bottled water is so important

16:52 Nathan indeed, Al

16:52 MichaelShaw Elitism?

16:53 Hubris Sonic i dont get the elitism

16:53 littlestgator visiting a place where u can’t or don’t want to drink the water

16:53 Hubris Sonic he shirt is too… worn, lived in

16:53 Hubris Sonic he looks tired

16:53 lucaites I’m not so sure about bottled water = elitism. I was just on the nY Subway last week and saw what I took to be gang bangers drinking bottled water.

16:53 Hubris Sonic romney always had that heavy starch going

16:53 Sion Touhig Id probably have shot it but not thought much at the time. But later it would have struck a cord

16:53 Nathan my overall feeling about this image is that it simply floats against the fact of his strong popularity, as if a narrative is being forced overmuch

16:53 Hubris Sonic i agree…

16:54 loret steinberg Nathan, I agree entirely. This becomes editorializing.

16:54 Hubris Sonic the editor overworked the language

16:54 littlestgator I think even if gang bangers drink water the evian elitism taint is still there

16:54 Nathan good point, John

16:54 Sion Touhig evian??!! That aint freedom water!

16:54 lucaites I don’t disagree that this image accents the elitism issue, I just think it is a stretch to connect it with bottled water.

16:54 MichaelShaw John, do you think the water lends a particular read, thouh?

16:54 davi schonauer I agree that there is a disconnect between this image and Obama’s front-runner status.

16:55 lucaites That he is thirsty?

16:55 Nathan all water is free at some point, it is just the clean water that is not

16:55 Hubris Sonic noone has mentioned the fence

16:55 loret steinberg I mentioned the fence way early…

16:55 Hubris Sonic sorry

16:55 loret steinberg it’s okay.

16:55 Nathan so literalist, John

16:55 littlestgator I disagree… I work in the rest. business and travel… and there is definately something thought of as elitist in bottled water

16:56 Nathan the fence is important, yes

16:56 Hubris Sonic i do think the photographer included it in purpose

16:56 loret steinberg It’s a point. I think the kind of bottled water becomes elitist. Now I can see people everywhere enlarging the image to look at the shape.

16:56 Nathan tracks and a fence

16:56 Hubris Sonic the water i mean

16:56 lucaites That’s interesting … can you clarify some (on the industry that treats water as elitist) … who thinks that? How do you know.

16:56 loret steinberg The photographer had to include it because Obama was carrying it

16:57 lucaites Well, Loret, s/he could have cropped it out? No?

16:57 Mario Tama You wouldn’t cut his hand off

16:57 Michael Steinberg John, REAL Americans dink Coke.

16:57 davi schonauer No, cropping would be the ultimate editorializing.

16:57 lucaites okay … fair enough

16:57 Hubris Sonic is it coincedence that the lights are yellow?

16:57 MichaelShaw Makes me appreciate how much one can bring to an image if one is steeped in the political narrative, which — that week — was screaming Obama = Elitist

16:57 littlestgator Well, regular folks ask for tap… rich folks shell out the extra 3-7 $ for bottled water… and/or… when traveling, locals drink from the tap… Others don’t want to and warn… “don’t drink the water.”

16:58 Mario Tama If you did cut his hand off Michael could do an entire Salon on that

16:58 lucaites LOL

16:58 Al he may be wearing a white collar, but his sleeves are rolled up

16:58 MichaelShaw I might have to take the watch out too. Rolex?

16:58 lucaites Actually, I’ve been known to write about photos that feature just hands myself.

16:59 loret steinberg But that would have been a different picture and a different cover, right?

3.  TIME “War On Global Warming” Cover

17:09 MichaelShaw Okay, so now that Lucaites is back, what about that shot of those guys hoisting the tree???

17:10 Nathan tree hoisting = conquest

17:10 littlestgator I hate hate hate the war reference applied to everything

17:10 Books Alive Some WWI vets were not happy campers!

17:11 davi schonauer I think Michael brought up the phallic symbolism. I had’t seen that at first. Brilliant.

17:11 MichaelShaw David, you wrote about this cover also, didn’t you?

17:11 Hubris Sonic it does seem poorly executed.. the tree size doenst match the imagery

17:11 Nathan John you wrote about this quite a bit the other didn’t you?

17:11 littlestgator also we lose all these fakey social wars… war on drugs, war on poverty, war on illiteracy… it is faux patriotism at it’s worst

17:11 Nathan Or was that Bob?

17:11 Sion Touhig I got a swiftboat feeling about the veteran outrage…it all seemed a bit contrived to me

17:11 Hubris Sonic it was contrived

17:11 loret steinberg the tree hoisting as symbol of what we value is hardly the way our country operates

17:11 Hubris Sonic as a vet… i didnt buy it

17:11 Sion Touhig anyone seen this?

http://tinyurl.com/6s6cp3

17:12 MichaelShaw OMG

17:12 Nathan Nice one

17:12 Sion Touhig its an ad for a South African newspaper

17:12 littlestgator every time the media or gop declares a war on something I get sick

17:12 davi schonauer Yes. Lots of different comments. I don’t think the editors who did it are evil. But the metaphor is just clumsy and overworked. Like the split image of Hillary and Obama. They must like concepts at Time now.

17:12 Sion Touhig part of a great set of their ads actually

17:13 Mario Tama but isn’t the state of our country such that if we don’t fight a “war” against something we won’t vote to fund it?

17:13 MichaelShaw Or, is it (also) to distract from the current war?

17:13 lucaites I though going to war meant we were suposed to be better consumers.

17:13 Hubris Sonic there are a ton of iwo jima images out there

17:13 davi schonauer Yes. Like the war on poverty.

17:13 Nathan it has been that way for a while, hasn’t is Mario?

17:13 davi schonauer Whip Inflation Now?

17:14 Nathan Also, I think the use of warlike relations invites the most abusive visuals – who is the enemy here?

17:14 Al it’s also license to stay at war until we “win”

17:14 Al i.e. never

17:14 Sion Touhig Lets Carpet Bomb the Credit Crunch…

17:14 littlestgator also general fear mongering and that the military can help with this? really?

17:14 lucaites The problem with the Iwo image is that it is now used so much, and sometimes to accent a pious patriotism/nationalism and sometimes a rather cynical view of everything. IN some ways it is hard to know which is more appropriate here.

17:14 Hubris Sonic and they are raising a grown tree… pointless to replant a cutdown tree…

17:14 Mario Tama LOL Sion

17:14 Michael Steinberg Doesn’t it also promote the idea that this is a problem that needs to be fixed intstead of a systemis issue that requires social change?

17:14 loret steinberg The distraction is an important point. We feel better looking at soldiers hoisting a tree and ignore the children dying in Iraq

17:14 davi schonauer I’m really interested in the fact that some people felt this image was commonly owned, a part of our heritage, and that it shouldn’t be touched.

17:15 littlestgator or ignore our own part in fighting global warming

17:15 lucaites Yesm Loet. But mostly it treats it as a nationalist problem.

17:15 Hubris Sonic they are black and white, the the rest of the images green… even the border

17:15 littlestgator someone else can fix it… please just keep driving that suv

17:15 Nathan I think it does misconstrue the nature of the challenge, including an overreliance on brute power.

17:15 littlestgator very contrasted to normal earth day images of hands holding the globe or other “work together” images

17:16 Hubris Sonic its probably just me, but I dont think TIME has a freaking clue on “how to win the war”… either of them

17:16 MichaelShaw Great point, Michael (and others). What happened to the systemic analysis of a problem — looking at it from the roots.

17:16 littlestgator plus, don’t worry… the dod will fix it?

17:16 Sion Touhig once biofuels are the only thing left the US marines will go to war to seize arable land…

17:16 davi schonauer Great point.

17:16 Hubris Sonic the tree seems misshapen

17:17 Nathan So, if either to pimp nationalism or to spoof nationalism, this image is without positive value in this context

17:17 littlestgator over trimmed?

17:17 Hubris Sonic like a bad fark image

17:17 littlestgator fake?

17:17 lucaites Good point BAFG, but let’s not forget that Time has an economic stake in all of this too … and any sytemic analysis is going to pint right back at coporate America

17:17 littlestgator fake tree I mean

17:17 loret steinberg The Iwo Jima image has been so compromised for so many things (trivial mostly) that it has lost its original significance. But that’s what we’re doing with everything — if advertising doesn’t compromise the real memory, then editorial will.

17:17 Al but at that point, what’s the difference?

17:17 littlestgator does chevy advertise in time?

17:18 littlestgator or shell?

17:18 MichaelShaw Beautiful, Al

17:18 Hubris Sonic what about the point of the Iwo story that these men were all killed right after the photo…

17:18 Sion Touhig or cargill…?

17:18 lucaites SUre enuf … with something like “greenwashed” ads … right?

17:18 loret steinberg I have a little snow globe (now autographed by photographer Tom Franklin) of the firemen putting up a flag at Ground Zerio — only the figures have been changed to look more closely like Iwo Jima gestures.

17:18 Michael Steinberg no, they weren’t HS

17:19 Hubris Sonic i know but that is a story that is goes arond

17:19 littlestgator fakey environmental concern. like fake organic labeling, and fake epa studies, blacked out and altered?

17:19 Hubris Sonic goes around. that people say

17:19 Nathan combing one feel good overused icon with another means extra special green glow

17:19 Al zing!

17:19 MichaelShaw Should mention, TIME had to come up with something. It was Earthday.

17:20 littlestgator yeah, but a military earth day??? that is what I find unsettling

17:20 Hubris Sonic its a pretty bad image, all in all.

17:20 Sion Touhig Earthday! The namby pamby treehuggers! Stick some soldiers on the cover!

17:20 loret steinberg Maybe for earth day they could have had that week’s issue entirely online?

17:20 littlestgator normal earthday images focus on what we can do together?

17:20 Nathan depleted uranium day

17:20 littlestgator not — hey, marines… go fix the planet?

17:20 littlestgator also the GLOBAL war on x?

17:20 Mario Tama lol Nathan

17:20 Hubris Sonic global war—ming

17:20 littlestgator with USA troops the only ones in the image?

17:20 Michael Steinberg A fine Bush invention–wars wihout sacrifice.

17:21 lucaites I think we can overdo the military metaphor critique. Afterall, WWII was the good war. People did come togetehr as a socity. They did sacrifice. And those things are ncessary (if not sufficienta) to address envionrmental problems.

17:21 Sion Touhig Coalition of the Tilling…

17:21 Sion Touhig groan…sorry.

17:21 Hubris Sonic tilting…

17:21 littlestgator and global struggles waged unilaterally- which is ultimately why they fail

17:21 black dog barking There was pulling together after WWII also. GI BIll, etc

17:21 littlestgator groan indeed

17:21 loret steinberg Important point — but do soldiers always have to depict people coming together?

17:21 MichaelShaw I have to say, I think Karl Rove is/was a genius

17:21 lucaites Yes, just US troops .. so it is back to an image that locates the problem of the enviorment in environmental hands. It’s a COld War reaction … we have to save the world. That’s probably the bigger problem with the image.

17:21 Al except in this case, as the polluters we’re the terrorists

17:21 loret steinberg An Evil Genius

4.  Still from Errol Morris “Standard Operating Procedure.”

Morris Abu Ghraib re-inactment portraits

17:21 Nathan We have a few minutes left and the image I was most taken by was Morris’ AbuGhraib -s is OK to get a few moments on that?

17:22 loret steinberg Nathan — what do you think of it?

17:22 littlestgator I was really disturbed by this one.

17:22 Nathan I found this image completely startling and funny and terrible. It thought it was genius

17:23 Nathan it puts in the front the love relations amid torture

17:23 Nathan which is part of the story that is not well told or even inspected

17:23 MichaelShaw It’s Nubar Alexanian’s photo, btw. He had free reign to document the movie. So this is his depiction of the recreations…

17:23 littlestgator ties sex and violence together in new ways

17:23 Nathan ah

17:23 loret steinberg Have you seen the abu ghraib photograph of the man covered by the cloth holding his hands out in a christ like position? The FULL frame of the image has a soldier at the right of the frame, appearing to be picking his finger nails.

17:23 Hubris Sonic extremesex dot com

17:23 Nathan egad

17:24 Sion Touhig the soldier is checking his P and S camera…

17:24 loret steinberg if anyone wants a copy of the full frame, i can send it.

17:24 Nathan sure

17:24 littlestgator the stains on the back wall are like wounds

17:24 littlestgator scars

17:24 Sion Touhig …hes obviously taken a pic of the poor bloke for his MySpace page and is checking that it came out.

17:25 MichaelShaw Here’s the picking nails shot:

http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/images/Abu…Abu-Ghraib

17:25 Nathan The pose of the kiss is so banal and TV daytime drama

17:25 Sion Touhig …checking the little screen on the back of a digital camera is known as ‘chimping’…

17:25 Nathan it is more disturbing to me than the prisoner

17:26 littlestgator the walls look weak, and temporary… wierd in this context… partical board, fake

17:26 Nathan the banality of evil as Arendt would say

17:26 Hubris Sonic so… forgive me.. is this an actual Abu G. shot?

17:26 MichaelShaw marrying sexual pleasure to the sexual sadism, but doing it in a camp style. Yes, pulls strongly in different ways

17:26 littlestgator the prisoner looks plump, and unreal compared to the fit couple.

17:26 Nathan that is why I found it so poweful

17:26 loret steinberg The prisoner in the Abu Ghraib recreation needs to be more tense. That’s what happens when people recreate thingsl… they don’t go far enough to make it more authentic. I think that’s good?

17:26 Sion Touhig A John waters movie from hell

17:27 Nathan I liked that is took the tension out

17:27 Mario Tama DOD was perhaps happy to have those images released because The “players” in the original images were, by normal standards, very unattractive. Morris’ subjects were beautiful.

17:27 Nathan I see this as showing the atmosphere form the guards point of view

17:27 Nathan perfectly good place to have a screw

17:27 littlestgator pretty crazy at so many levels

17:27 Hubris Sonic off kilter

17:27 Hubris Sonic the angle

17:27 Nathan yes

17:28 littlestgator esp. if you imagine the accompanying soundtracxk

17:28 loret steinberg Michael S. — tell people about the article on the woman who took the Abu Ghraib pix

17:28 MichaelShaw ???

17:28 Michael Steinberg Yesterday’s Guardian had an extract from Morris’s book–with P Gourvich

17:28 Al the new yorker piece?

17:28 loret steinberg ooops. Michael Steinberg — he gave me the article yesterday

17:28 Sion Touhig a modern day leni rheifenstahl?

17:29 Sion Touhig she was following orders apparently

17:29 loret steinberg An excellent piece. She wasn’t following orders to photograph.

17:29 Michael Steinberg A naif who sort of though t she was documenting this to uncver it

17:29 Sion Touhig exacto – that was lenis defence

17:29 Nathan weird

17:29 Michael Steinberg …but she didn’t do much but take photos and worry

17:29 Al

http://tinyurl.com/3xasas

17:29 Sion Touhig after all, hitler had such nice table manners…

17:30 Michael Steinberg You’re ruel. Leni knew just what she was doing. She was the opportunit par excellance. T

17:30 Hubris Sonic i find this image disturbing…

17:31 loret steinberg it should be.

17:31 lucaites WHich image is disturbing?

17:31 Hubris Sonic the breasts are hidden, so as to not be offensive?!

17:31 Hubris Sonic the detainee has a pot belly

17:31 Sion Touhig Leni probably was. But does that mean we let this other lass off the hook?

17:32 loret steinberg But the really disturbing images are the real ones… the recreation is aesthetically polished and not believable…. doesn’t have the odd weirdness of the real things.

17:32 Hubris Sonic yes… thats it…

17:32 Hubris Sonic the blood splashes too… contrived

17:32 loret steinberg Sorry. More specific — the real Abu Ghraib images are horrifying because they’re also snapshots and strangely “normal” yet abnormal

17:33 Sion Touhig theyre very similar in feel to images published in the UK daily mirror showing UK soldiers torturing prisoners – but the images were fake

17:33 Nathan that is what I find so interesting, the re-enactment’s slackness creates an odd, campy critique that in a way shows something the more disturbing actual images cannot – the comfortableness of torture

17:33 lucaites On the hidden breasts: Isn’t that the point. SOmething like sex requires a certain degree of decorousness … just as they screw out of sight of anyone; and yet, the bigger obscenity is right before our eyes and no one seems to care.

17:33 Hubris Sonic camp.. yes indeed

17:34 Hubris Sonic i feel i might be more comfortable with the original. oddly enough

17:34 loret steinberg Interesting observations. The image doesn’t really speak very powerfully or authenticaly to me in any way.

17:34 Nathan I cannot let go of my anxiety when looking at the originals. This one incites a terrible comedy that for me is an interesting critical departure.

17:34 lucaites This has been fun folks. I hope we do it again. But I have to run for now. Have a good evening and week ahead. See you at the Bag … or No Caption Needed if you are inclined.

17:35 MichaelShaw Thanks, John…

17:35 Nathan Thanks John, nice to hang with you.

17:35 Sion Touhig G’night all.

17:35 loret steinberg John — keep doing your good work

17:35 Hubris Sonic thanks to everyone

17:35 MichaelShaw Thank you so much for being part of the BNN Salon!

17:35 Nathan Night everyone

  • Panelists
  • Michael Shaw Host, Publisher, BagNewsNotes.
  • John Lucaites BAGnewsNotes contributer, as well as blogger and co-author of “No Caption Needed"
  • David Schonauer Editor-In-Chief of (and blogger for) American Photo magazine.
  • Loret Steinberg Professor of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography/R.I.T.
  • Nathan Stormer Moderator – Professor of Communications and Journalism/U. of Maine.
  • Mario Tama staff photographer / Getty Images

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