Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
April 6, 2016

Is Campaign ’16 a “No Win” Exercise? Two Back to Back Photos.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 30: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks on stage in Harlem at the Apollo Theater on March 30, 2016 in New York City. In a new ad released Wednesday by Clinton, she takes on Republican front-runner Donald Trump. New York will hold its primaries on April 19. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump walks off stage after speaking at a campaign event at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., Wednesday, March 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The question is: has the presidential campaign process, and even the job itself, become a backhanded proposition?

These photos were taken by different photographers in different states. Still, they mark the same moment in this year’s campaign. On the night of March 30th, Trump was scrambling in Wisconsin while Clinton was chasing votes in New York. I also consider them together because TIME presented them  back-to-back in a recent “political photos of the week” slideshow.

You might say these is nothing significant here — that these standard angles were sequenced by a photo editor for the sake of visual novelty. You could argue, too, that both blondes are so familiar to the public, they cry out for visual shorthand. (In Trump’s case, the comb has drawn wide attention and the “duckbill,” too.)

But could there be something more symbolic to the pairing?

In a campaign characterized, above all, by deep disaffection, Clinton and Trump are in similar roles right now. Both are frontrunners who, rather than consolidating their leads, are actually losing momentum. The dramatic lighting might lend an elegance and a singularity to both figures. I’m wondering, though, if the view might reflect the protracted horserace layered against a broken political system. In other words, perhaps there is only so much people can face.

(photo 1: Spencer Platt—Getty Images. caption: Hillary Clinton speaks on stage in Harlem at the Apollo Theater on March 30, 2016 in New York. photo 2: Patrick Semansky—AP. caption: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump walks off stage after speaking at a campaign event at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., on March 30, 2016.)

Comments Powered by Disqus

Refresh Archives

Random Notes