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January 13, 2016

Obama’s Last State of the Union – A News Photo Grand Tour

President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It seems Somodevilla (hello, Aldous Huxley!) wasn’t buying the vision of a more perfect union. On the contrary, it’s the House chamber as a hall of mirrors. …And, chalk up one more example of the newswire morphing with art photography.

(For gear people, the image was made using a Theta S from Ricoh for the product’s mobile app but was also offered to the wire as both a horizontal and a vertical.)

Paul Ryan. President Obama Delivers His Last State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress

Paul Ryan. President Obama Delivers His Last State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress

Pool/Getty Images North America

The most prominent demonstration of Obama’s effectiveness last night was how, after about the first twenty-minutes or so, he managed to turned a smirky Ryan into much friendlier wallpaper.

John Kerry. President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.

Melina Mara/The Washington Post

This photo says everything about Obama’s argument about quiet efficiency, especially regarding foreign policy and external threats. It’s certainly a hallmark of the Obama approach that situations, like the one that came to light during the day yesterday, be addressed calmly and methodically. You can imagine Kerry checking what time the Iranians were going to release our detainees.

Marco Rubio. President Obama Delivers His Last State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

If it’s caption contest material, it’s also photo editors calling out the Rubio touch.

 

President Obama Delivers His Last State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Also, Souza’s last hurrah.

Supreme Court Justices. President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.

Evan Vucci/Reuters

You can see here, and in the two photos at the end, that Evan Vucci crushed it.

Once again, Scalia, Thomas and Alito stayed home. Roberts, on the other hand, has his own designs. As bookends, Kagan and Sotomayor look pretty nonchalant while the others, tellingly perhaps, seemed straight out of a bird cage.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

And then, there was “The Notorious” holding on.

The Joint Chiefs. President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Yes, it’s typical SOTU fare. But along the way, Obama offered repeated props to our killing machine.

Kim Davis. President Obama Delivers His Last State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Kim Davis appearance — clearly a provocation as Obama made a towering case against intolerance — won the evening as social media red meat. (And it put a twist on the suits and “the defense of liberty” besides. ) Most of the riffs on social media, by the way, (except Frisch’s, who was still mourning Bowie) saw Davis dressed like Cosby.

Bernie Sanders. President Obama Delivers His Last State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Is this a commentary about Bernie being outside the mainstream — or is it sticking him there? …And another one.

Elizabeth Warren. President Obama Delivers His Last State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

If this shot has something of the Hillary bug eyes, it was unusual to see Warren back on the national stage. Popularized by Obama as the color that transcended “blue states and red states,” many of the Democratic women were wearing purple. Seeing Warren in it, though, seemed to reference a standard the town cannot meet.

Gabrielle Gifford. President Obama Delivers His Last State of the Union Address to Joint Session of Congress

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

I read somewhere that the speech made only one mention of gun control.

President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.

Evan Vucci/Reuters

And, to the extent Obama still means business…

President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.

Evan Vucci/Reuters

it was still a swan song.

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