Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
August 13, 2011

The Picture from Iowa, 2012: T-Paw on Ice

This is the ninth post in our series, The Picture from Iowa, 2012 based on photos and on-the-ground conversations with photographer Brendan Hoffman leading up to the Ames Straw Poll, combined with analysis by The Bag.


I can’t decide how much I think T-Paw was battered by media group think — the consensus being he didn’t have the right stuff — versus how much Pawlenty just plain couldn’t clear that classic bar, for an American presidential candidate, of “having enough sizzle.” After his distant third in the straw poll, this shot particularly stands out for me. That hockey photo-op  about three weeks back was one of the higher-energy Pawlenty events, encouraging his team to imagine they might finally be gaining traction. Looking at the shot now, however, it now seems more like a cruel joke. “T-Paw, T-Paw,” the screams rang out as he gave himself to the crowd of half-pints.  Seen in the rear view mirror, this photo is arguably more  a testimony to a campaign for President … of Sesame Street, Pawlenty’s mug more resonant with “The Forty Year Old Virgin.”

PHOTOGRAPHS by Brendan Hoffman/Prime Collective. Campaign Tumblr Site.

Follow all the posts in this series at: The Picture from Iowa, 2012.

(photo: Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is greeted by screaming children before playing in a scrimmage hockey game during a campaign stop on Friday, July 22, 2011 in Urbandale, IA.)

About the Photographer

Brendan Hoffman

Brendan Hoffman (b. Albany, NY, 1980) is a photographer based in Washington, DC. He began his career in 2007 after working at a desk for several years in the non-profit sector. He divides his time between client and personal work. Assignments often involve covering news and politics for publications such as TIME magazine or the New York Times. His personal projects reflect his interest in the ways in which economic and political structures shape modern society. His ongoing project “Stand the Middle Ground” is an exploration of contemporary middle class America in the context of free trade and the decline of manufacturing in a small Iowa town. Brendan has received awards for his photography from Pictures of the Year International, the White House News Photographers Association, and other organizations. He has worked in a variety of countries for both editorial and NGO clients, and is a co-founder of Prime. See more of Brendan's work for BagNews here.

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