Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
July 10, 2015

Are We Seeing A New Level of Candidness from Campaign Photographers This Year?

I’m not one of those people lamenting our visual inundation. At the same time, the volume of news photos the media is moving everyday, on top of the fact they are typically packaged in dozens, makes the consideration of any single photo, the non-viral ones anyway, all the more rare.

This post at Lightbox, featuring 16 campaign photos by the stellar Brooks Kraft, mainly showcases shooting with the iPhone, along with technical tips for the folks at home. Another reason you might not dial in to the individual shots in the slideshow that carefully is because many of them are either deadpan or laden with a heavy dose of the circus.

This photo, in contrast, is surprisingly quiet. In a post early in the week on candidate selfies, I emphasized how the political manual these days dictates that politician be framed like your next-door neighbor or your (online) best friend. Rarely do you see a photo in public that speaks to the massive power differential between the candidate and the citizen, or captures public engagement, as it so often is, as an exercise in patronization. That’s what makes this simple photo so damning. The caption reads:

Huma Abedin, long-time aide to Hillary Clinton, is approached by a member of the crowd after a campaign event in Hanover, N.H., July 3, 2015.

 

Right, that’s Andrew Weiner’s wife, famous for that kerfuffle, talking to the earnest Ms. No Name, smartly accessorized with the Hillary logo on.

What I’ve been noticing since this still-young campaign got started is that the tone of the photo coverage feels a little different. What I’m sensing is somewhat less irony and condescension (as much as the process and particular hopefuls deserve it), and more candid moments capturing the contrivance or just the trumped up spectacle. I’m grateful to Brooks for this shot, as much as I’m hopeful this candidness blossoms into a real trend. If that plays out, we can leave a lot more eye rolls to the pols.

(photo: Brooks Kraft/Corbis)

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