How to photograph a president

It’s struck me for some time that images of Obama eating seem to crop up very regularly in photospreads (this example from HuffPo today):


So struck was I this time that I began to wonder if past presidents had been subject to such up-the-nose closeups of them in gustatory action.

There’s one pic in particular of Bush that seems to be just about all there is for him


and yeah, OK, with that meager fodder, many a Photoshop was spawned:


But it falls short of that visceral pore- and pixel-level intimacy intruding into what most of us regard as a relatively private act, or one at least that we’d probably not choose to have captured and broadcast, that seems to mark most of the photos of Obama chowing down that I’ve been able to find. And if you follow that link, you’ll see there are a LOT of them, and they’re all over the show.

Sure, I can think of other politicians where the media’s gone for the undignified moment of ingestion, but the effect veers widely from the mildly unfortunate


to the practically suggestive, though somehow still relatively dainty


But there seem to be very few images like that available for other politicians (let me know if I’m wrong on that).

In any case, the proximity is almost always relatively mild, whereas, where Obama’s concerned, it seems like anything goes:


It’s almost as if there’s something going on there, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Posted by YAFB on 07/16/10 at 05:45 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaOur Stupid Media

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If you will recall YAFB the media went positively dizzy about the fact that Caroline Kennedy (during the senate speculation thingy) actually chose to eat lunch, at a lunch meeting with someone (can’t remember who) the RWNJs were besides themselves that she actually allowed herself to be filmed EATING LUNCH…. like it was some sort of fucking crime, to chow down on a salad.  What can I say POTUS likes his food.  I can imagine that there are conversations in the WH every evening similar to my house “what do you mean I can’t have cheese fries”  Michelle - “no you can’t have cheese fries you are going to have chicken and steamed broccoli with the rest of us” “But I am POTUS I am all powerful”  Michelle “eat your broccoli Barack, you can have cheese fries at the next photo op”

Check out the face on the woman behind Snowpack Snookie. She looks about ready to grind a waffle cone into the Bumpit and turn the pot of spinkles over her head.

I just couldn’t bring myself to crop her out, Betty.

And in every photo he looks like a goddamn male model.

As someone who won’t let a camera within six miles of my teeth, I am in awe.

That must be an actual Grizzly Mama contemplating whether to eat Sarah now or take her home for the cubs to gnaw on.

bush eatin’ the f***ing kitty made me laugh harder than anything else today.

YAFB - if you want to really irritate lambchop, shoop out the chicken in the last pic and add the Blessed Hillary…

A possible innocent explanation for this kind of photography is that photographers seek images which suggest candidness and, especially with politicians, provide a contrast to commonly-available images. Barack Obama is known for being restrained and tidy in how he presents himself, and shots of eating seem more candid and (for the lack of a better word coming to mind) visceral.

she actually allowed herself to be filmed EATING LUNCH

Wimmin aren’t supposed to eat food, they’re supposed to prepare food. It says so right in the Bible, just before the bit where Jesus says “Bring me my guns, I’m gonna whack some Romans.”

Glad we cleared that up. Now where’s my sammich?! [bangs beer can on desk]

Not really an “eating” picture, but for disturbing food-related photo ops, nothing tops (yes, that pun is intended) this shot of Mittens.

Comment by Oblomova on 07/16/10 at 10:55 PM

nothing tops (yes, that pun is intended) this shot of Mittens.

I haven’t seen anyone that excited to glove up and pack fudge since the Folsom Street Fair.

It could be worse, I suppose. Remember when the wingnuts were trying to make a BFD out of the fact that Obama wasn’t eating every scrap of food that was shoved in his face when he was out on the campaign trail? (“He didn’t finish his fries!! What, is he too good for fries? Is he some kind of FOOD SNOB??!!”)

Frank, you just summarized the content of every Maureen Dowd column from 2008 into two sentences.  Good job!

Allan, it would also have to include something like “When I was growing up, the Strong Daddies were the ones who ate all the food on their plates!

But I think George I still gets the prize for most embarrassing moments associated with food and they are bookends of sorts—not knowing how grocery store scanners worked, and puking on the Japanese prime minister. (An event I first learned about when my boyfriend of the time called me and said “Bush puked! I’m stoked!”)

Good topic, weird photos, but I have to focus on George Bush.  He is eating RAW CORN.  Look at it! Unshucked, silk still clinging to it.  That’s how farmers check to see if it’s sugared enough or too much for harvest.  Does George know that? Or did they just hand it to him and he thought he better eat it or look stupid?

Or did they just hand it to him and he thought he better eat it or look stupid?

You piqued my curiosity there (my money was on your latter theory, which I thought a fairly safe bet), so I did some digging.

At a 2004 campaign stop in Iowa, Bush stopped to talk with local corn farmers. After picking up a nearby cob, he promptly shucked it and proceeded to take a bite. The only thing was, it was still raw. Although it’s unclear whether or not the president knew that the corn was uncooked until he tried it, one farmer, a country music singer, in the background appeared to be cracking up with laughter behind him. Bush continued to make a grimace while he took several other bites, perhaps in an attempt to save face.

(Update: apparently everyone ever eats raw corn)

Reading between the lines, in a desperate bid to continue saving face, every Republican in the country thereafter has refused to eat corn on the cob unless it’s raw.

As much as it pains me to ever defend George Bush I have to say that, if it’s good sweet corn, it’s just about as good raw as it is cooked.  In fact if it gets overcooked into mush it’s a lot better raw.

Yeah, raw sweet corn is just fine.

Wow, our president has pretty teeth.

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