Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 23, 2009


I think the choice of this Christopher Morris photo as TIME’s inauguration commemorative cover relays a couple of elements that are still being appreciated by the country and the media.

The first is how vibrant and central an impact (the face-front) Michelle Obama is going to have on the nation (while, all the while, staying half-out-of-sight and keeping the focus on Barack).

Second, the image — with the couple physically linked through the oath, and the bible — picks up and emphasizes the truly “faithful” (by which I mean healthy and deep, more than religious) connection between the two. I can’t say that the couple and their relationship is going to inject a new faith in America in the institutions of family and marriage (which it might), but I do feel Michelle and Barack’s relationship, as a model, embodies a powerful cultural dimension to this presidency.

Of course (there being a lot here), I’m interested in how you read the picture.

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