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

President-Elect And Mrs. Obama


Assuming contributer Alan Chin had a clear vantage in Grant Park, we will have a lot of good images to study at some point tomorrow. Tonight though, I wanted to highlight three images I pulled off the TV.

In his speech tonight, Obama reflected on a 106-year-old African-American voter in Atlanta named Ann Nixon Cooper, and the changes in America she has witnessed in her lifetime. Affirming his believe in the American dream, Obama wondered what kind of progress and change his daughters could expect should they live as long as Ms. Cooper. The image above captures Obama looking back at his daughters just before giving his speech. The expression — a pure, uncomplicated, loving and paternal one — embodies the warmth of spirit our President-elect brings to his quest.


I like this frame because it shows Obama as simultaneously determined and pensive. Although happy and proud this evening, I would characterize him tonight as predominantly antsy. My sense is that Obama has no illusions about the task ahead (given the transition mode he’s been in for weeks now).

Watching him closely tonight, he just seemed itching to get off that stage and get down to work.


It was a pleasure to attend the Democratic Convention if for nothing else than to watch Michelle Obama. While John McCain’s wife gained ridiculous levels of face time, Michelle did not.

I realize Michelle Obama spent a lot of time either home with her kids or working the trail on her own. In studying the coverage, however, I was still disturbed by what seemed like either a lack of attention or overly negative attention paid to Michelle. I think it has something to do with her thoroughly unassuming nature and there seemed to be a racial component too. I can’t say that I understand it yet. Needless to say, I will also have her back as we move forward, looking both to understand the media’s relationship with her, and to explore how she approaches her new and profound role.

Regarding the picture, I think it captures a lighter and less driven space that the President-elect knows overwhelmingly through Michelle.

(screen shots: BAGnewsNotes via msnbc)

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