A Tale of Two (or more) Pictures
Headline on CNN's website:
GOP calls closed session 'a stunt'
When Senators ask for accountability, and take measures to force the issue, is this a stunt? Perhaps a polite note could have been sent along asking "If it's not too much trouble, could we please find out why over two thousand of our soldiers are dead, and why thousands more are wounded, families broken?" Perhaps included would be a fragrant return envelope, and a "RSVP" artfully written by a talented caligraphist?
The CNN version of the story is here.
Two images stand out:
Frist says "I talk to my hand, my hand talks to me." Santorum looks slightly goofy (which is an improvement) and Trent Lott keeps hanging around because his house is too moist to sit in. But note also the image has strong color tones: a saturated and crisp overall effect that looks polished.
This particular pic of Reid and Company can be seen a variety of ways: a low-angle POV photo can produce a sense of reverence or awe, or respect, but it can also marginalize the person (or persons) who are seen as too removed, too "far away." Note also the washed-out color, the pale gold which can evoke a sense of autumn/age or of gold/wisdom. My wife used to do photography and has explained to me (she talked slow so I could keep up) that low-angles are not the best way to show off a human face--our necks get stretched, we can appear gaunt, etc. What are CNN's images telling us? With their relative proximity to each other, on website pages that are front and center for brief flashes of time, one can make assertions that reveal more about the asserter than the images themselves. Does any of this mean anything? Help, Sartre, help!
But what happens when text is added? Stunt takes a serious issue and, though the word was put forth by by a political adversary, gains the headline. No more gray area! Democracy, when invoked, can be characterized as a "stunt."
A few moments later the image of Frist, Santorum et al is replaced with one of Pat Roberts, who leads with his hand:
Reid towers above us in the earlier pic, his hands tightly gripping a bar or rail: the Republican Roberts is featured in a straight-on shot as he leads with his right hand held forward--like a Preacher. America: Preacher Good, Histrionic Rail Gripper Bad?
Images changing at the speed of news, camera angles utilized for prosaic reasons (often it's where the cameraperson was able to get a spot) or for sublte and not-so-subtle reasons of subconscious/conscious perspectives--it can't all be conscious propaganda, can it? Many a blogger has utilized images out of the past to reveal the staged/sinister components of imagery as wielded by a Karl Rove or Joseph Goebbels. But what are we seeing? Are we witnessing the end of Big Media as trustworthy (bloggers are ahead of the curve here but what about the rest of the Vox Populi?), because once the BIG LENS goes back on itself, it's hard to stop looking: a vast, large Corporate Eye stares back, unsure of you and of me, but desirious, hungry and all-consuming.