News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 27, 2018: Above is a PERFECT photo as I will explain this episode.
It proves far more than the axiom – how often do you see that word – that a picture is worth a thousand words. Indeed far, far more!
First let me provide context than move far, far beyond the immediate context as you expect here… Why you look forward to each new episode.
Here is the back story.
This photo which I intend to make famous here in Trump’s America is associated with a “comical” story this week in The New York Times about President Trump getting FURIOUS, that yes some passengers are watching the Comedy News Network (CNN), on “his” Air Force One, including YES the First Lady!
They travel “apart” on Air Force One!
The Commander in Chief has used his power to ORDER that all TVs on Air Force One, including HERS, be tuned to the other comedy news network by another name, Fox News, which Trump somehow believes does not broadcast Fake News. That is ALL they do Mr. President!
Be glad you do not have to ride on Air Force One with Donald Trump, as President, now renamed the Clown-mobile in Trump’s honor. Any way that is the back story this episode is definitely not about!
This story is about the incredible photo above once I explain why it is.
This photo deserves an award without the awesome symbolism I will assign to it. As a photo from a technical perspective, it is brilliant in its simplicity. It is so good I’m using it as my computer screen saver!
It appears to be a black and white photo because of its composition until you notice the slight color at the right edge on fuselage of Air Force One. The use of shadow is phenomenal. Then we have the composition of images as silhouettes. At the focal point of the photo, Trump is holding an umbrella with the stairway framed by two saluting military guards.
We also see almost invisible Secret Service agents, and clearly visible as a dark shape, the Presidential limousine. Then there are the reflections on the tarmac and the gray sky as a backdrop that all combine to make this a classic photo in the traditional way. What a photo it is! Bravo!
If you are into photography, learn from this photographer Doug Mills. There is good reason he gets paid the big bucks by NY Times, although I am sure he does not have a clue about the photo’s real POWER.
But this is all prologue to the real story!
Take another look at it above. SAVOR it. I will explain.
What I see and so should you, is the entire history of the United States of America is this one photo. A window into the past, present and future of our great nation. There are 16 distinct elements in the photo which collectively tell a very meaningful story for the Ages.
I cannot conceive of another photo, except possibly others just like it, that does as much; although I have never seen one just like this. Forget all the photos that have been widely labeled “famous,” including Kennedy assassination, the first nuclear bomb, celebrating the end of WW II, even Neil Armstrong the first human stepping on the Moon.
All of them are “famous” not as photographs, but because of the events captured in those photos. In this photo above, there is nothing special happening. It is the photo itself that speaks volumes. Yes, there are many photos that are award winning for the quality of the photo itself, but I am claiming none of them can rate as high as this photo.
So let’s take a real and imaginative look at it. Yes, the ability to be IMAGINATIVE about this photo is integral to its power. Yes, you have to use your imagination to see what I see but once you do you will see it.
This photo is the “culmination” of and a representation of what began on July 4, 1776, and April 30, 1789, and September 11, 1789, and all the pivotal moments throughout American history that provided the necessary foundation for this very typical even mundane moment in the American Presidency. All that went before for almost 250 years now is the necessary foundation for Donald J. Trump to be standing there.
That is but one level of the seminal symbolism within this photo. The history of our nation that was necessary to create this very simple image. The President of the United States does not have to be doing historic things good or bad to prove the nature of these first 250 years of our history. Walking to an airplane carrying an umbrella will do so very well.
Yet I see so much more in this photo and so should you.
We see a particular individual in 2018 as President clearly identifiable, beleaguered surrounded by STORM clouds and shadowy figures. This could just as easily be a scene from one of Shakespeare’s great tragedies like Lear or Macbeth the very flawed leader rushing to escape the storm.
What we also see are the very clear symbols of power that accompany a President of any realm in the 21st century. The big plane, the armored limousine, the soldiers of the nation at his command, the well-armed Pretorian guards who would give their lives to protect their “king.”
We also clearly see the loneliness of power in this photo. There is no adoring cheering crowd surrounding Trump. NOT even a bevy of highly paid staff to serve his every whim. Regardless of all that those accoutrements of power ultimately the leader has to stand alone naked.
He or she cannot sidestep their awesome responsibilities and the potential of failure that might bring them down or the nation. This photo reflects the reality of power. The photo invites us even compels us to wonder what is President Donald Trump thinking at this lonely moment? All alone!
Is he thinking about North Korea or the next election or the investigations bedeviling him or is he just thinking about getting out of the rain and enjoying the unequalled grandeur of Air Force One? Or something else?
We do not know but this photo invites our imagination like no other.
Then there is a universal way this photo works so well.
On this level we see 12 souls (if you include the Secret Service driver seated in the Presidential limousine he almost out of sight). 12 individuals regardless of their current positions all were born and will die and in between will live lives of different lengths, experiencing personal joys and tragedies, hopes and disappointments, successes and failures.
Most of all 100 years from now all of them will be long gone. None of them remembered much if at all even Donald J. Trump. They will all be dust.
So indeed we see the entire Human Condition in this one photo.
If we look we can see even more. I am impressed. So should you.I should write a book about this one photo. Maybe I will.
For now. Savor it. Learn from it. It speaks well to us.
(This entire series is dedicated in honor of the late Liu Xiaobo)