January 3, 2010
OBAMA AND BIDEN: Analyze the body language. From the White House Flickr page.
UPDATE: No, I don’t think Obama’s facial expression is just a fluke of when the shutter went off. His eyes aren’t closed, as some with poor displays seem to think. Here’s a detail from the frame:
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Joseph Gautier writes: “If I really wanted to set my dad off, all I’d have to do is send him this photo. The amazing thing is, that it is found on the WH’s flickr page. Proving that they don’t see what we see.” It’s interesting to read the comments, where what people see is very different depending on who’s posting. Well, Obama did say that he had cultivated the ability to be a blank screen onto which people could project things. . . .
MORE: It’s bad PR: “Personally, as a photographer this shot would have been in my discard pile. The reduced size image makes Obama look sleepy or worse yet, tipsy (Obama’s eyes are open in high resolution version below). Sleepy or tipsy looking images of the president should be an automatic red flag to discard the image for any photographer. Even the high resolution version leaves much to be desired. Obama looks like he has contempt for Biden (given the Joe ‘The Gaff Machine’ Biden’s performance this year, that maybe a possibility). This again reminds me of how this administration seems to have become oblivious to the images they project to the public.” Yeah.
STILL MORE: Andrew Sullivan says that commenting on photos from the White House Flickr feed is racist, or something. Well, that’s the last refuge of the Obama fans these days, isn’t it? But Biden’s role here isn’t as a white man. Obama’s showing contempt — or so it seems to me — for the guy he picked as his running mate. And, of course, Andrew’s still mad at me for calling him a bad writer.
But actually, the whole “optics” discussion kicked off with this photo. No doubt Andrew will argue that people are really just upset that the maid vacuuming the oval office is white . . . .
Come on, Andrew. Raise your game!
MORE: Elsewhere, I’m accused of sucking up to Obama for a speechwriter job! But, really, he needs my photographic skills more . . . . Where’s today’s David Kennerly when you need him? Note these related thoughts from Ann Althouse. “Keep in mind that this is a picture the WH selected and had to have thought flattered the President and furthered his interests. People who like Obama are blinded to the way other people see him. This picture strongly says cool to people who love him, but it doesn’t read that way to others… including the many, many people who don’t even want a cool President.”
Plus, Analyze Glenn Reynolds’ Body Language! Over the years, most people have seemed to read it as “Dork.” Though if memory serves, I think here he’s confusing “foppishly obsequious” with “hung over.” But that’s a mistake anyone could make . . . And what’s this trying to seduce?
STILL MORE: That Althouse quote got me to thinking about this Bush jet-pilot photo, of which I was critical at the time, and the two different ways people viewed it depending on whether they liked Bush or not. I think my judgment has been vindicated, since. . . .