Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
November 20, 2012

Top Brass: As Much About Surface


In the aftermath of the Petraeus resignation and the growing questions about how effective he really was, the wire photos of the otherwise pedestrian change of command ceremony at United States Southern Command yesterday starts to take on a new hue. …And yes, that’s in Florida.

Credit Joe Raedle with photos/portraits that seem to probe a little deeper than a perfunctory assignment, through movement, introspection, even teeth.

Gen Kelly Fraser SOUTHCOM
General John F Kelly

Sure, top dogs from the different branches look impressive, but isn’t that the issue? It seems a lot of discussion around Petraeus and the military comes down to the power of surface and form, all the display of ritual and chest hardware distracting from questions about this institution, its culture, scale and value, and certainly the personality and disposition of the (mostly) men in charge of it.


To the extent the photo set is ironic, this image captures it best, Raedle going for the anonymous “who I am is on my chest.”

via Zimbio: Panetta And Dempsey Attend SOUTHCOM Change Of Command Ceremony

(photos: Joe Raedle/Getty Images caption 1: U.S. Marine General John F. Kelly (front to back) walks with U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser, U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, during a change of command ceremony at United States Southern Command on November 19, 2012 in Doral, Florida. U.S. Marine Gen. John Kelly takes over the command from U.S. Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser..)

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