After a week of negative media coverage over Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from the northeast region of Syria, known by Kurds as Rojava, this past weekend’s news that the death of ISIS leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi (which has strangely been reported before, but never verified) has given the president something to brag about. While extrajudicial killings by governments are not something we should ever applaud, the official photo of the president watching the execution unfold is stunning for its clear parallel with the photo released of the killing of Osama bin Laden by the Obama White House.
It’s no secret that Trump has a bone to pick with Barack Obama — the former reality star’s rage is still simmering after the White House Correspondent’s Dinner Roast in 2011 — but the latest image points to a clear attempt to erase one more aspect of Obama’s legacy.
What I find more peculiar about the Trump version of this image is the perspective of the photographer. Rather than oblique angle used by Pete D’Souza (Obama’s White House photographer), the Trump White House photographer Shealah Craighead’s image is straight ahead. D’Souza also pointed out the strange timeline for the image, since the time of the raid was reported to be more than an hour before the image was taken, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions on that issue.
While a few of the men — and they’re all white men — in the image look away from the camera, at least three of them appear to be staring straight at the photographer, giving the photo a clear authoritative air. Unlike the more ambient lighting of the Obama image, which includes various emotional responses, the Trump image is austere and strangely lit, with the figures highlighted by a glow from the wall behind them. The depth of field gives the image a more contemporary feel, more akin to the smartphone digital photography we’ve become accustomed to.
If the Obama image offered a moment of insight into the humanity of those in the room, perhaps suggesting we have unwittingly walked upon this scene, it’s clear the Trump image is more carefully contrived, offering little humanity and preferring the perspective of power. The perspective in the Trump image is lower, though, shifted down so that we, as the viewer, are eye-level with the group. I see similarities with Dutch Guild portraits, a very business-oriented genre, but also with the sternness of early US portraiture.
Here we have the most powerful man in the world, continuing to look over his shoulder at someone who has proved to be his social nemesis: the dapper, well-spoken world leader in contrast to his buffoonish caricature of one. Trump has become Lady Macbeth, desperate to unsee something that is obvious to themselves and others. I almost hear him thinking to himself, “Out, damn spot.” What that spot is can be many things at this point — but he knows, like we do, that the stain won’t go away no matter what angle the photo is taken.
The Roman-era burial ground is located in Anazarbus (modern Anavarza) in the country’s southern Adana province.
Those with a Didion-shaped hole in their hearts can also bid for portraits of the author, her books, and other personal items.
The Brooklyn organization is now accepting new project inquiries for its fee-based fabrication services in printmaking, ceramics, and large-scale public art.
The union seeks a minimum wage of $20 by the end of 2024; the museum offered only $16.
Blurred Boundaries invites the viewer to recognize the ways in which queer art is not separate or other, but is actually always all around us.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Francis De Erdely had an intuitive grasp of the inner worlds of people who were coping with a sense of displacement in their daily lives, which he conveyed in his art.
Curator Amber-Dawn Bear Robe brings together historic and contemporary Native clothing designs at Santa Fe Indian Market.
Art and photographs, publications from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, posters and more are set to cross the auction block on August 18.
As the Uru-eu-wau-wau face continued incursion by Brazilian farmers, they take an active role in this documentary about them.
Arriving amid increased anti-Asian racism and continuing discourse about the inhumanity of its prison system, this documentary is a strong historical gut punch.
A “show within a show” at the Whitney Biennial pays homage to the visual and literary art of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, whose life was cut short through an act of brutal violence.