There is a delicate line between Art and Politics that must never be crushed: Mocking politicos for aesthetic profit. The New York Times, for some reason, decided to publish 50 crushing images of those working for the Obama Administration and, for some reason, the Obama campaign agreed to this public humiliation of their employees. The published images cruelly, and purposefully, make these good people look like Zombies. Let’s call them “The Obama Undead” — with their blank faces and ghoulish eyes — and we are left to feel terrible for them because they have been manipulated and mocked for paper profit. We know their uncomfortable skins. Only the glassy look in their eyes, and the familiar “thousand-yard stare,” gives away the fact that, at one time, they were human, and not the joke of the day.
When you visit the NYTimes site and listen to the horrible audio commentary from the photographers expressing their “mission” to capture the “real” people — you are left cold by their unwillingness to confess the project was an abject failure.
What’s up with the uncomfortable “distance staring” to their side? It’s creepy to watch and bizarre to try and figure out. To help preserve the weirdness of it all, I have done my best to keep the odd “white space” the NYTimes intentionally added around each Obama Zombie.
If the NYTimes were not smart enough to bury the images as a interesting idea gone wrong, then it was the duty of the Obama campaign to pull the plug by saying, “Thanks, but no thanks; we can mock our own people without your help.”
Did anyone realize a lookalike Tom “drug-addled” Sizemore was working for Obama?
We are certain the NYTimes knew precisely what they were doing by making these poor people look foolish because the photographers confess as much in their commentary.
The NYTimes knew they were working with ordinary folk. They knew the objects of their flaying did not know how to pose for a camera. The NYTimes knew these images made the Obama folk look silly, unprofessional, and unreal/undead/uncouth — yet they published the images anyway.
Publishing these images requires our public condemnation of an artistic process that should have relied upon trust and confession instead of base exploitation.
What political team in the future would ever want to put their people through this sort of unintended hilarity? Once burned, twice bitten… by the bulging-eyed Obama Undead!
Even Hillary Clinton is now an Obama Zombie staring off into the distance as she fights to retain her decaying blood and shedding skin.
This poor fellow is wholly lost. He was obviously told to “just stand there” while the image of him was shot for eternity and now — as another nameless of the Obama Undead — he will live forever in a futile attempt to live down the falsity of his life captured in print.
I saved for last the cruelest image of all.
Is she looking at us — or through us?
She’s a Zombie.
She’s the Undead.
She’s her very own, weird, Wanted Poster and Mug Shot combined.
Wow. Maybe they should have gotten Annie Leibowitz to do the photos.
I think Annie is just the wrong sort of photog for these images. You need someone who is respectful and helpful and not someone looking to make headlines and “new art.”
Oh! I always associated her with classic good portraits of the 70s and 80s. Who are your favorite photographers?
Annie is seeking outrage: Whoopi in a tub of milk, John naked with Yoko on the bed, a furious Queen of England made to pose.
Cornell Capa is dead now, but he was a favorite for respectfully capturing the essence of people:
I am kinda speechless over these images and that their publication was “allowed” …….. talk about making yourself look “gormless”.
You made my day! “Gormless” is my new favorite word!
It is shocking that these images were allowed to be published. Wrong tone. Wrong foot. Wrong idea.
Given the events of today – that is some compliment!
Big day, big compliment, Nicola!
I hope the world feels different tomorrow.
I am clueless why NYT decided to publish these images in the first place, they were no model/ celebreties or anything similar…
It seems a failed attempt to glorify the regular life.
It doesn’t make sense, does it, Katha? My feeling is the Obama team was played a bit — and the effort backfired.