America: A picture is worth a thousand words

Obama disappears amid a throng of both supporters and Secret Service agents.*

I’ve always been a fan of the “picture within the picture,” the interesting details that tell you more than a big crowd shot or a landscape panorama. This picture grabbed my attention because there were so many hands of different colors, all reaching for each other. It seemed so symbolic, so much more meaningful than just another picture of the candidate working the crowd.

It took a while for me to figure out that Obama’s arm is the one with the black watchband and rolled up white shirt sleeve (wedding band visible), coming in from the lower left. Above it, two more arms —  black suited, white shirted (Secret Service?) — men’s hands prying away a smaller hand clutching Obama’s arm. There’s a gray-haired woman, and someone with a smooth, young looking forehead. At least three cameras vie for a shot of history. One person reaches with a pen, hoping for an autograph.

So much in one small picture. Wonderful.

*Regrettably, I’ve just discovered (in 2022) that the original photo in this post disappeared. This substitute is similar to scenes repeated over and over in 2008. But the original photo was a closeup of hands only.

One thought on “America: A picture is worth a thousand words

  1. Imagery can only go so far. Sometimes it can sadden us, once reality sets in.
    I thought it was a rather dramatic photo, regardless of whether it was shot that way originally or was cropped out of something larger. And despite all the positive notes, there’s the inescapable undertone of Secret Service being necessary to protect the candidate, even in — or especially in — a crowd that seems to be so friendly.

    The photo, of course, is to show us someone’s idea of the moment. The reality behind the image could be something far different. The long shot, for example, might include police arresting protesters, or something like that.

... and that's my two cents