Tuesday 27 January 2009

Sing hallelujah c'mon get happy. Get ready for the judgment day.

Excellent article, this, about the press corps surrounding Bush for the duration of his presidency, with the photo editors of three news agencies discussing key images from his eight year tenure. Santiago Lyon of AP adds a caveat:

“One thing that’s obvious, but it’s worth bringing out there, is that there are very few casual photographs of the president of the United States. The whole thing is managed. With the exception of the guy hurling the shoe at him, these are all photo opportunities that are organized by the White House Press Department and set up for the members of the traveling pool or media group that accompanies him everywhere. So you have to look at them within that framework, that it’s being orchestrated to send a message.”

Whereas Vincent Amalvy of AFP feels the opposite, wondering at the unprecedented access that the American photo corps has to the presidency. Many of the pictures are images of the same moment, from slightly different perspectives, framed differently. Jim Bourg has some especially interesting ones.

Something I was glad of when I watched Bush's last press conference - despite the depressing reality of his lack of awareness of the depths of what was going on around him - was the frankness of his humanity. The man is a dolt there's no question of it and his lack of regret, at least publicly, of anything other than the bad photo ops, and his profound lack of understanding about apparently anything at all, is a terrible thing to behold, given the gravity of the office he held. But he is also a human being. Contrast his demeanour in the last press conference with the "farewell address" which was so static and so stiffly performed. And then, those last three photos. Reminds me of stage school kids who learn how to stifle all their feelings and go out on the stage and smile smile smile.

Little horrors, aren't they?

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