January 21, 2009

Oval Office, Day 1

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 21:  In this handout from the White House, U.S.  President Barack Obama (R) talks with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the Oval Office of the White House in the morning January 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. This is the first complete day of Obama's administration.  (Photo by Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images)

I should note that, within days, this photo is going to look completely mundane. For the moment, though, it’s profound to the eye as the first White House photo of Obama officially at the desk, in the chair.

Unfortunately, it will probably take me a few viewings to shake off the echo of “W” (who actually rarely sat at that desk — except for photo ops, which typically revealed a surface as uncluttered as we see here). For the moment, I still see him sitting in that striped chair, far right, with that adolescent grin on his face and a couple of boom mikes over his head, yukking it up with whomever of the steady stream of dignitaries happened to be parked beside him.
One other note about the picture and the handiwork of new WH photographer Pete Souza, by the way. Whereas Bush and Rove were obsessed with framing “W” with “the other George,” notice how Souza’s angle insures that Obama — in his first photo from the Oval Office — is introduced, in the sweep of the scene, by Lincoln.

(image: Pete Souza/White House. January 21, 2008)
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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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