Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 22, 2015

At the White House, a Sense of Humor (and the Old Shazam!)

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Way back when, the White House Flickr site was a jewel in a well honed communications machine. No president had ever had access to social media before, and this one — with all the excitement of HOPE and CHANGE — took full advantage. Sure there have continued to be noteworthy visuals here and there, but not so many or ones distinctive enough to keep people coming back or to attract the old buzz when a new batch gets uploaded, this photo appearing in Pete Souza’s post of the Administration’s 2014 photos of the year.

White House Flickr, however, has been useful for marking the political cadence of the White House, and sometimes, too, the emotional mood. If off-beat, this photo might suggest a few things about the 2015 edition now that Obama has run his last campaign and seems lighter in his step, more free-wheeling in his actions, and more ideologically unbound.  What we see in this picture is a sense of humor, a good dose of theater and some good old Shazam! Photographing Michelle encountering Barack on a screen, it’s reminiscent in a much smaller way, of the scene at the 2008 convention in which Obama was informally (and televisually) introduced the night before his official appearance and acceptance of the nomination. We were credentialed bloggers at the event and Alan Chin photographed it for the Bag. (His are the black-and-white entries.)

Back to this recent photo, though, taken on September 27, 2014, and uploaded on December 29th. What brought everything back to me is the consistent story line. We have the President’s better half, eternally connected. And then, you have the President and that sense that he’s got it in him to do something magical.

(photo: Lawrence Jackson/White House. caption: Lawrence Jackson captured the First Lady backstage watching the President deliver remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.)

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