April 25, 2009

Obama’s First 100 Daze

In talking to BNN contributor Alan Chin this morning, two things came up that relate to this photograph.

One had to do with how much the reading of any photograph can change, and change radically, based on the prevailing mood, set of concerns and cultural and political circumstances. A second thing we were talking about — stimulated by some of the Obama “100 Days” photo galleries published this week — is how much the president, in spite of best efforts, lives in a bubble.

As a good example of the first point, I posted the image above back in August. At the time, I took the LAT to task for echoing the McCain campaign attack meme framing Obama as “a celebrity.” Interesting then how Newsweek used the same Joe Raedle photo this week to lead off an empathetic piece on Obama’s loss of anonymity, and his struggles in coping with the complete loss of even taking a walk.

In the first reading, the focus was on the scene through the glass and those faces of adulation. Now, eight months later, the focus is on Obama as the man behind glass, not the object of attention but in fact, the focus of isolation.

… It’s something to keep in mind as the deluge of “100 day” features — many of them, pictorial — also illuminates the truly odd social station of the president and how much Obama exists in a fishbowl.

>> (And, as part of the cavalcade, please join us here, Sunday, May 3rd at 7:30 EST, as we discuss 8 photos comprising our own “Obama 100 Day” reading in another edition of the BAGnewsSALON.) >>

(image: Joe Raedle / Getty Images. North Carolina. August 2008)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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