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

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Zac Stevens
            On Tuesday August 31, 2010 President Barack Obama declared to the world that the combat mission in Iraq was over. President Obama conveyed the message verbally in front of millions of people around the world and he also passed on similar messages with the visual image that he surrounded himself with. There were two different levels of depth in the image and both had there own meaning. The flags along with the pictures of his family that stood behind him showed the idea of home, in this case America and how it was his number one priority, while the closer level of depth in the image showed that this was a simple solution with no confusion or strings attached.
            The front level was very basic and consisted of an empty desk with President Obama sitting at it. Even though this level of the image was so basic it passed on an important message. It showed that this was a basic and final decision on a war that was taking place in Iraq for almost a decade. The simplicity was important because the attention was supposed to be focused on the President and only him, this was to show the confidence that they had in the decision. The bare desk symbolized and told the viewer that this was a simple, non-confusing ending. This was particularly important because of how confusing and poorly informed the past decade in Iraq had been for the general public to understand. The desk was free of any papers that could have given the idea that they were still thinking about this or working on it but instead they kept it simple and not confusion to pass the idea of closure to the combat in Iraq. Obama’s presence in the center of the screen and his upright professional posture showed the confidence that he had about this major decision. Confidence was also shown in the back level of the image.
            The two main components that stood behind Obama were pictures of his family and the two flags. The flags behind Obama continued the idea of confidence and also added the mentality that this was America’s decision and that entire country supported it. The flags stood tall behind Obama representing the United States support for the decision and confidence that the government has in the decision. The many pictures of the Obama family behind where Obama sat represented the United States family and population. The pictures themselves showed that the United States was his number one priority. This was not just represented by one picture but by many. All of the photos were also happy pictures, which said that this was the correct decision. Obama and his team set up an image to surround Obama that showed the countries support, confidence, and focus on the United States while he shared this important decision with the world.


  1. I really like how you noticed the two different levels of images during his speech, however i do not exactly understand the connection you made between the empty desk and the public being uniformed about the current situation in Iraq.-Caroline Salozzo

  2. I think you did a fantastic job of organizing this post, and making it very easy for other people to follow it. Also, you made claims, but then completely backed them up with warrants and the images from the speech that you noticed.
    Mary Rometti