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Election 2016: Image World

Donald Drumpf, 2015, screenshot

Donald Drumpf, 2015, screenshot

As if to demonstrate the ongoing centrality in global culture of the lens-derived image, still photographs and videos and photomontages and photocollages played a major role in the 2012 presidential election, and did so in the 2016 election as well. The types of imagery involved already range widely, from the Confederate flag held by terrorist Dylann Storm Roof to the promotional images for the reality-TV show of ex-Republic Party darlings the Duggar Family. Add to that the visual imagery projected by the party conventions, plus the images evoked by the candidates and their campaigns, and you have quite a rich mix.

As a citizen, I’ve followed presidential campaigns for over half a century. But I had never tracked one in my professional role as a photography critic and commentator on new media until the imagery emerging from the 2012 “race for the White House” evoked a lengthy series of posts on that theme. Taking on the same challenge for the 2016 election, I decided to start early, since the race began officially in March 2015 and the images quickly began to emerge.

Links to and synopses of pertinent posts in this blog, which in turn contain links to relevant documents, news stories, and other related information, can be found below in chronological order, with the most recent first:

  • Ivanka Trump Tells All (April 1, 2017): In which the “First Daughter” explains to MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren that the election of her father to the presidency of the United States did not go as his family had planned.
  • Election 2016: Image World 18 (January 29, 2017): In which I conclude my coverage of the visual component of this election cycle, and suggest a few tools for surviving the immediate future.
  • Election 2016: Image World 17 (November 9, 2016): In which I indicate my surprise and displeasure with this election cycle’s outcome, and survey the visual art that it evoked..
  • Election 2016: Image World 16 (October 20, 2016): In which I review the imagery that emerged from the third and final presidential debate, then pass on to Clint Eastwood’s view of Drumpf — all prefaced by a meditation on breastfeeding as it pertains to this election.
  • Election 2016: Image World 15 (October 16, 2016): In which I review the vice-presidential debate, the second presidential debate, and Drumpf’s failed “October surprise.”
  • Election 2016: Image World 14 (September 28, 2016): In which I ponder Hillary’s fainting spell, the first debate, Skittles, taco trucks, and the sequel to Children of the Corn.
  • Election 2016: Image World 13 (September 4, 2016): In which I note Marco Rubio’s image-making skill, and explore the image of Khizr Khan holding up the Constitution.
  • Election 2016: Image World 12 (July 31, 2016): In which I review Days 2-4 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, applying some insights from Roland Barthes to the images of Hillary Clinton past and present.
  • Election 2016: Image World 11 (July 27, 2016): In which I review Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, paying particular attention to the group portrait it presents of its diverse delegates and the image of Michelle Obama schooling the nation on the slave labor that built the White House.
  • Donald Drumpf, Republican National Convention, 7-21-16, screenshot

    Donald Drumpf, Republican National Convention, 7-21-16, screenshot

    Election 2016: Image World 10 (July 23, 2016): In which I review Day 4 of the RNC in Cleveland and the Drumpf ascension to the nomination: The image projected by The Donald in his acceptance speech, and his curious resemblance to Gorgeous George.

  • Election 2016: Image World 9 July 21, 2016): In which I review Days 2-3 of the RNC in Cleveland, including the parade of mediocrity at the podium, and the dominant media images so far — Melania juxtaposed to Michelle, and the former’s plagiarized text text juxtaposed to the latter’s original.
  • Election 2016: Image World 8 (July 19, 2016): In which I review Day 1 of the RNC in Cleveland, paying special attention to “the whiteness of their wail,” Melania Drumpf’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama, and “the visceral, frothing rage that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama evoke from these people, the lynch-mob vitriol.”
  • Election 2016: Image World 7 (July 17, 2016): In which I catch up on some recent election-related imagery (including Paul Ryan’s ill-conceived Facebook GOPSoWhite selfie) and discuss the Republican National Convention’s curious effort to brand itself visually — via its logo — as the GOP’s Woodstock.
  • A. D. Coleman as Bernie Sanders, selfie, 3-3-16Election 2016: Image World 6 (March 20, 2016): In which I ponder the last men standing among the Republicans, test the Drumpf and Sanders selfie apps, and wave bye-bye to wingnuts Christie, Carson, Bush, and Rubio, with special attention to the late, unlamented theocrat Antonin Scalia.
  • Election 2016: Image World 5b (March 6, 2016): In which — with the  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program a bone of contention in the election — I conclude an account of my 2013 experiment with the “food-stamp challenge.”
  • Election 2016: Image World 5a (March 2, 2016): In which — with the  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program a bone of contention in the election — I begin an account of my 2013 experiment with the “food-stamp challenge.”
  • Election 2016: Image World 4 (February 14, 2016): In which I discuss the image projected by the cluttered stage of the Republic Party debates, Johnny Depp as Donald Drumpf, and more.
  • Ted Cruz campaign ad, "Cruz Christmas Classics," December 2015, screenshot

    Ted Cruz campaign ad, “Cruz Christmas Classics,” December 2015, screenshot

    Election 2016: Image World 3 (January 17, 2016): In which I discuss Ted Cruz pimping his children, other Republic Party video shenanigans, and the embarrassing Ben Carson. And offer Pogo as comic relief.

  • Election 2016: Image World 2 (August 16, 2015): In which I explore the looneytunes antics of Republic Party candidates sparked by the front-running of The Donald, point out his resemblance to Stephen King’s demonic clown Pennywise, and more.
  • Election 2016: Image World 1 (July 27, 2015): In which I meditate on the Duggar family incest scandal, “abstinence ambassador” Bristol Palin’s new out-of-wedlock bun in the oven, terrorist Dylann Roof Storm’s love affair with the Stars and Bars, and POTUS’s turn at the bully pulpit in Charleston for the Rev. Pinckney memorial.

A. D. Coleman, Critical Focus, 1995

A. D. Coleman, Critical Focus, 1995

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