The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Obama Aug 31st

This photo was taken on August 31st during the Presidents Address to the Nation. A few things stand out to me in this photo.At first, this photo looks unusual to me. The angle of the shot is what grabs my attention. A more common photo I see is a straight forward, closer view of President Obama. Usually the American flag is in the background on the left with the presidential flag on the right, but in this case only the presidential flag is visible. I think this takes away from the photo because it is missing probably the most representative American symbol. Another point that jumps out at me is the colors in the photo. They seem to be very plain and boring. There is a lot of brown and neutral colors. The painting of the Statue of Liberty in the background adds some needed gold and blue. The topic President Obama is discussing is the operations in Iraq. Although this is not a particularly happy subject for most people, I think the picture doesn't always have to reflect that. In other words, just because the topic isn't sunny and happy all the time, doesn't mean the colors have to be bland and boring. Americans like to see that the President is family oriented and shows that he cares about his family. In the background of almost every photo in the oval office, photos of President Obama and his family are visible. Lastly, the body language of the President is very evident in the photo. At the moment the photo was taken, he was not smiling or leaning back in his chair. I think the author is trying to show the seriousness and level of importance of the topic. President Obama seems calm but also focused. His body language is important because it can send subconsciously good or bad signals to viewers. Overall, this photo sends a positive message to Americans about the work and commitment of the President.
Megan Fisher


  1. I like your use of an atypical image on this subject; however, I disagree with your opinion regarding color choices. The main focus was not to go all-out and decorate the office for this event--it was to get the message across that the decision was made to let the Iraqi citizens handle their own domestic problems. In other words, the audience would be distracted by superfluous colors and decorations and would not be paying attention to the focal point, the President himself.

    - Nikki Edmiston

  2. I really thought the picture you used was interesting because this picture was very different than the one the rest of us used for our blog. Overall I really liked how you talked about the dull colors because honestly I think this can relate to how Obama's presidency is going. But in the end, you are right that the photo is trying to send a positive message to the American people.
    -Caleb Copley