Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Courtesy of The White House

Yes, The White House is on Flickr! Which means I can comment on what I think could become a famous photograph. Even if it doesn't it struck me as interesting in many ways when I first saw it at a small size. Having access to a full size file makes it even more interesting to examine.

Although it is ostensibly a photo of the President of the USA and his entourage watching a live feed of the killing of Osama bin Laden, it's actually a photo of Hillary Clinton. The composition and the focus point, which is glaringly apparent when viewed full size, make that plain to me that the photographer made the picture to place the emphasis on Mrs Clinton - the only person visibly reacting in the shot.

The composition is well considered too, with the negative space top left pushing the eye down and right. There is also a spiralling curve of heads starting top centre and working to the right, the eyes of the man bottom right send your gaze to the left where it meets the out of focus back of a head which implicitly sends you upwards, where you then continue the spiral to Obama. The military gent on his right is looking down, stopping your eyes' travel as his eyes are not seen.


Close inspection shows that the piece of paper in the centre has been pixelated to hide whatever it shows. Yet the top secret password printed on the cover of the file on Mrs Clinton's lap hasn't been given the same treatment. Altogether a fascinating picture, on many levels.

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