January 14, 2009

The New Official Portrait


Ready for a change of view?

As someone who toils day-in and day-out in the service of (primarily domestic national) political imagery, and who well recognizes that the President of the United States is typically the central object in the visual field, the significance of the coming week cannot, should I say, be “misunderestimated.” Besides his enmity, his adolescence and his lack of curiosity, what has made it almost intolerable looking at George Bush, especially as the years ticked (or, burned) away, has been his utter lack of complexity.

Above is the “new official portrait” released today by the President-elect’s office, taken by White House photographer-elect, Pete Souza.

What a massive relief, as well as an exciting challenge it will be to apply our collective capacities here in teasing out the Obama picture as the new president embarks on, and moves through his odyssey. It’s a relief because of how much psychologically healthier, and therefore multi-faceted and multi-dimensional Obama is than 43. And, as a perfect example, we need only examine this portrait.

What is indicative of Obama, and his depth, is how many looks he shows in this introduction. Is he open? Is he circumspect? Is he playful? Is he reserved? Is he relaxed? Is he intense? Is he focused? Is he humble? Is he proud? Is he pleased? Is he cagey? Is he wry? These are all good questions, especially to the extent that few of them could be answered simply, and without challenging other aspects of Obama’s personality.

I’m curious how you react to this picture, now and going forward, as we strive to see Obama in the fullest dimension.

(h/t: A_L)

(image: Pete Souza/(soon to be) White House)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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