June 21, 2008

Family Affair


I’ve heard from several people about NY Mag’s sly use of this photo.  It accompanied Friday’s snark on the Daily Intel blog about the ex-Governor’s upcoming family vacation to Southeast Asia.  (According to the write-up, by the way, the idea for the trip came from Spitzer’s eldest daughter, Elyssa.)

What I’m specifically curious about is the choice of this 2006 photo to illustrate the post. 

The feedback I’ve gotten (taking fiendish note of NYM’s visual move) is that people — thoroughly mindful of Spitzer’s prostitution scandal — can’t really look at an image like this without making any number of harsh, almost reflexive assumptions about the quality and nature of the relationships here.  So, what I’m wondering is, can you help looking at this image without automatically perceiving it as a portrait of exploitation — or worse, a suggestion that these girls are vulnerable in some particular way?

The Spitzer Family to Vacation in Southeast Asia (NY Magazine Daily Intel blog)

(photo: AFP 2006)

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Michael Shaw
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