May 8, 2007

PhotoSchlocking "The Once and Future Obama"

[An item imported from my day job]


Is it just us or are the images of Barack Obama promulgated by the MSM in the last week getting more and more like the glowing Russian icons for sale in cheap shops in Brighton Beach?

This one adorns Sally Quinn's gushing love letter printed in today's Washington Post:

"There is something about his manner that seems to demand that he be seen for who he is and not for what color he is.

"Of course, Obama has many attractive attributes. He is charismatic and has a youthful exuberance. He is a new face and connects with both young people and key Democratic constituents. But there's something else going on here as well." (A Welcome Face)

The photo is credited to Ann Johansson - Getty Images, but anyone who knows Basic Photoshop will see the tools of blur, over-saturation, unsharp mask and a judicious use of highlighting in the eyes and the teeth at work here.

Eyes in the original at Getty Images.

Eyes as published at the Washington Post.

In one way, this reminds us of the vision of Evan Thomas, the Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek in the run-up to the 2004 elections:

"The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. And I think they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards -- I'm talking about the establishment media, not Fox, but -- they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all, there's going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, that's going to be worth maybe 15 points." [itals added]
In another way, the hues and glow and the almost the near halo surrounding Obama in this image suggests more than anything else the fine obscuring hand of what is known as socialist realism.

Either way, it seems very early to get this level of propaganda out of the MSM, even the Washington Post.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 8, 2007 9:14 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

His complexion seems light in the fauxtograph as well. Perhaps my imagination. It does present an interesting, would MSM prefer Obama to less black?

Posted by: kend727 at May 9, 2007 9:12 AM

Of course, this is balanced by the daily flattering photographs and audio/video bites of President George W. Bush.

... in Bizzaro World.

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at May 9, 2007 11:56 AM

I work with photographs every day and as to the color of his skin, that's probably a side effect rather than a deliberate ploy. When my studio photographs students with dark skin— particularly Indian/Pakistani— they often have a low level of contrast and details are difficult to make out. We'll often lighten them in ways that make the skin tone stand out for the simple reason that if we didn't, their faces would be an undifferentiated mass of color.

In fact, we will sometimes get requests to match the color to the proof, which is bizarre since that coloration is not only light, it tends to be orange. But hey, they're the ones sticking the photo on the wall, so we oblige.

And their photo editor could do to learn a bit more Photoshop. The Unsharp Mask looks particularly horrible on his nose and mouth. One trick we use is "luminosity sharpen", which is to have a layer with the unsharp mask and then select the inverse of the RGB channel to mask off the lighter areas. It's quite an effective technique.

Posted by: B. Durbin at May 13, 2007 6:45 PM

Is good news then. Hopefully they have learned their lesson to not blatenly change things

Posted by: kend727 at May 15, 2007 12:06 PM

Pop culture reference: I can't get past Obama's resemblence to the white guy going to the black family in Dave Chappelle's Trading Spouses skit. Well, that and the fact that this man does not even come close to representing me.

Posted by: Will Turman at May 22, 2007 3:23 AM