February 26, 2009

Notes On The Latest WH Slide Show

Obama in Roosevelt Room Budget Meeting with VP
Pete Souza has a new WH slideshow up purposed to provide the American people with a snapshot of the President and his economic team attacking the economic crisis. If somewhat heavy-handed in presenting us two images of 44 in emotional poses (here’s the meditative one), the two photos of the Obama are surprisingly intimate.
The one above would be a completely different photo if Obama’s eyes were closed. In almost a psychological study, the fact they aren’t appears to illustrate Obama’s capacity to bodily absorb the pressure and still locate and collect himself.

I was also thinking about this photo — as well as the rest — in terms of gender.

On first pass, with Napolitano and Romer looking thoroughly engaged, it seems to strongly affirm the role of women in the administration. At the same time, however, it seems like the power triangle formed by Obama, Biden and Schiliro (perhaps better articulated by who has “a place at the table”) also gives off a vibe of Napolitano and Romer as being in “the next echelon.”

This latter perception (call it a gender gap?) come through more clearly in considering the full eight photos in this show as a group. Out of the entire set, there is only one other photo with a woman clearly present. That’s this one, in which the four men occupying the center of the table are named in the caption, and the unidentified woman (curiously enough, framed under Obama’s “measuring” hand) is seen at the table’s opposite and far edge.

If one was trying to demonstrate the idea of the boys club, by the way, shot number two (whether including or excluding Roosevelt) would be red meat. Seeing that picture also immediately reminded me of (and made me even more uncomfortable) about this early portrait of Team 44’s economic brain trust.

(Extended – 8:35 pm)

(h/t: Lindsay)

Sustained Growth, Shared Prosperity slideshow (Pete Souza/White House)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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