Here's the whole slideshow — which is labeled "Sotomayor Bio."
An emailer calls this to my attention saying: "I don't think you should post about this, but why would they put in this photo where you can see all the way up her skirt??"
Well, I am posting about this, and I wouldn't say "you can see all the way up her skirt." You can see that Sonia Sotomayor wears a skirt and crosses her legs in a relaxed and casual way that lets you see some leg. The photo also has her smiling prettily, with her hair in relaxed ringlets, one of which falls gently into her eye. Her left hand is devoid of any relationship-manifesting rings, but she's wearing long dangling earrings, and the hand is unclenched and draping gracefully.
Get the message? She's a woman. A womanly woman, fully embodying womanhood — even as she is not married, she's wearing a professional suit, and she's at home with the law books.
IN THE COMMENTS: Palladian, who has expertise in art, writes:
Her knee looks like a giant grey Idaho potato hovering in the foreground. The arm of the chair repeats the shape on the right of the frame, making it look like her other knee, which in turn makes it look like her hand is dead center in her enormous crotch, pawing at her cooch. You avoid those things in portraiture. Also not good to crop her right arm off. It implies that she's an amputee.He is right, of course, but that isn't the answer to my question why the photograph was selected.
ALSO IN THE COMMENTS: Andrew Koenig said:
My first thought was of this famous picture of J.P. Morgan...
... in which the light reflecting from the arm of his chair makes him seem to be holding a dagger.The photo is by Edward Steichen. The effect was accidental, but in this case, we love it (as much as Morgan hated it). The important thing is to have an eye not just for what you are hoping to capture in a photograph — such as Sotomayor's femininity — but also for the accidental imagery that others may notice. See what can be seen and then decide if you want to use a photograph.