Analysis of a photo 2011/12
Student name: Eva Mª Sánchez Cobo
Tutor/workshop: Gianluca Sergi
Question 1 (500 words max): What is the photo about? What story is it trying to tell you?
This photo shows Barack Obama with his wife Michele Obama. Barack Obama is the current president of the United States since January 20, 2009. On November 16,2008 Obama resigned from the Senate to focus on the presidential transition period. The picture I am describing belongs to the period of the presidential election in 2008. This photo also won World Press. The photo shows Barack Obama reading a newspaper while he holds his head with his right hand in a thoughtful posture. He also looks worried and weary as his wife, who is sleeping soundly next tohim with his left arm around her, rests on his shoulder. They are sitting on a chair rail with black seats, in front of a table, full of newspapers. The mirror in the back reflects the back side of their heads. Next to them there is a glass window in which the side view of Barack Obama is reflected. He and his wife wear very light colored clothes: he wears a white long sleeve shirt and a red tie,while his wife wears a cozy and apparently warm beige coat.
As I said before, in the photo we can see Michelle Obama sleeping while her husband reads the newspaper. He really looks tired, the organization of the elections has to be such a great burden over his shoulders and it seems that the tiredness is slowly consuming him. The picture, which was shot before winning the elections and inwhich we can see Obama reading different and various newspapers which deal with the public opinion of him and the opposition party, is trying to convince the hesitant American society that he is concerned about his country and the well-being of it. One of the reasons why this photo became very popular was because everybody could sense the great family stability that Obama has, even if his wife isthe only member of his family who appears in it. It seems that she will be by his side forever, even if they feel exhausted and with no strength to carry on. Although Michelle has eventually fallen asleep he remains awake. This fact points out that he is doing his best to win the elections.
Examining in detail how she is peacefully sleeping resting on his shoulder we can notice that his wiferelies on Barak Obama with no hesitations, she really trusts her husband and the decisions he makes. The photo shows an intellectual politician, concerned and hardworking accompanied with his trustful wife. These portrait makes us wonder whether the audience shares the same feeling or not.
The photograph was taken during the pre-election period and we can assume that this image was anattempt to reach the victory. And he did it.
Question 2 (500 words max): How does it tell its story? What is its formal construction?
The picture is quite dark. The daylight comes in and lights the scene, so it seems a really natural portrait. I think that the picture is staged, though. It was probably taken at dusk because of the lack of clarity that can be appreciated on it.Obama’s face is lit and so is the forehead of his wife, Michelle.
The picture is a medium close-up, because it is taken from low chest upwards. We can also see, apart from the couple, different and various elements around them. The picture was taken from the right side of Barack and Michelle Obama, with them being in the middle of the frame. They are sitting on an apparently cozycorner. The photo shows the couple totally focused, as we can see them sharper than the rest of the elements surrounding them. This fact points out the importance of Barack Obama and his wife, so the place where they are seems to be unimportant. As I said before, the daylight comes in through the window, being the only source of light. Even if the nightfall has not come the face of Barack Obama and...