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Rosenthal’s Iwo Jima, Revisited and Revised

The observant individual who noticed that anomaly, brought it to the world’s attention, and thereby made a real if minor adjustment to the historical record, had no training or expertise in either photography or military history. His effort did, however, require one particular and relatively rare skill: the ability to pay close attention to photographs without making assumptions about their content or allowing their contextualizing material to influence your thinking. In my book, that makes him a critic. […]

Election 2012: Image World (13)

The sheer quantity of visual imagery disseminated today during a national election, its diversity of forms, its variety of sources and distribution methods, and the rapidity with which image succeeeds image, destabilizes the electorate’s perception of the candidates. For unified, coherent Renaissance representation it substitutes Cubist depiction of its subjects, a collage of glimpses built up over the course of the campaign, fluid and unfixed in the mind perhaps even at the moment the voter steps into the booth to cast the ballot. […]

Election 2012: Image World (12)

To what extent the Republic Party’s ineptitude with imagery doomed the Romney-Ryan campaign — the degree to which they misjudged and/or mishandled visual communication in this election, or were otherwise undone by it — will prove difficult to gauge with any degree of precision. But its recurrence as a prominent issue suggests that it played a significant, perhaps substantial role in shaping the electorate’s perceptions of Romney and Ryan. […]

Election 2012: Image World (11)

The recurrent visual image of middle-aged white male Republicans telling women that, if raped and impregnated by a man, they should grin and bear it (or, more precisely, thank God for that “gift” and bring it to term at the risk of their lives), can’t possibly help them woo the women voters they so desperately need. […]

Election 2012: Image World (1)

Eastwood’s star turn at the RNC conjured up the image of an “imaginary Massa,” an arrogant patrician Southern plantation owner, doddering yet white and gun-wielding, thus empowered to humiliate a grown black man who can’t talk back, in front of a laughing, jeering, cheering crowd of white people who roared with approval when Eastwood announced “We own this country” and “Politicians are employees of ours” before closing with an ominous “Make my day” chanted by the assembly. […]