December 26, 2007

The hangdog photo is bad, but "[w]hen the news is about your son actually hanging a dog...."

Great laugh line shoehorned into a WaPo article on bad photographs of candidates.

But let's read the article, which displays that terrible photograph of Hillary Clinton — we talked about back here — and talks about the various candidates:
In the partisan media (much of the blogosphere, the tabloids and several cable channels), these images are used freely and gleefully. In media that strive for objectivity, the hangdog shot raises difficult issues. In an earlier age of newspapering, sorting through the archives for an image that confirmed your headline was acceptable practice. Today, serious newspapers try to use images from the most recent campaign events rather than something a few months old, even if it fits the story line better....

And yet, the hangdog image is almost irresistible. All the hard-edged questioning in the world, all the grilling at news conferences and televised debates may fail to knock the candidate off message. But a single image of a sad, powerless, depressed politician is enough to break through the kabuki makeup and get at the Shakespearean psychic meltdown that is supposedly just underneath the surface.
Supposedly? We love to stare at the photographs that reveal the humanity of distant celebrities, but are these just as illusory as the smiling masks they try to wear all the time? The point is that there are so many images out there, that the choice of photograph is the real expression, and that belongs to whoever is displaying the photograph.

3 comments:

George said...

Flag down. 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

And the context isn't even explained.

If the Post didn't follow-up on the recent Enquirer piece about Edwards because it was too sleazy, how does it justify this blind-side hit?

Also, look up the reporter's background. He covers arts for the paper, writes about bassoons and Romanian cinema.

rhhardin said...

It's more a problem with having a single news outlet.

Nobody would care what pics blogs chose.

Perhaps it's concern with what the uneducated masses will think, seeing as how they now vote. So it's a story about the masses, really.

So easily swayed by trivialities!

So easily drawn in by stories about trivialities!

So easily sold to advertisers!

Iapetus said...

A "terrible" photograph of Hillary Clinton? I don't think so. Am I the only person who thinks this is actually a pretty terrific picture? I may not be a fan of Hillary Clinton's but I was immediately drawn to the photo when I first saw it. The campaign is tough on all the candidates, the weather is cold, and there she was soldiering on. I thought the photo gave her face some interesting character and for that reason was extremely appealing. Maybe my standards are different from others, but unless there is some subliminal message in the photo that doesn't register with me, I thought it was a plus for the candidate as well as the photographer.