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Did You Think Platon Photographed Obama at the U.N. Too?

My bad for assuming the photo shoot Platon did at the U.N. — involving 110 world leaders taken in the Green Room just off the General Assembly hall over 5 days in September — actually included Barack Obama. As it turns out, it didn’t. Instead, the photo in the “Portraits of Power” feature in the magazine this week is a 3-year-old Platon file photo.

What I failed to pick up — which several of my readers did in my post on the BAGnewsNotes blog — was the fact that the date of the photo was right there in the print caption.

What I think tripped me up, however, as I go back over it, is that I first saw the piece on the New Yorker website, and nowhere in the web version of the feature does it indicate that Platon didn’t shoot Obama in September (at least, as of this writing) — leading anyone and everyone who saw it on-line to assume he did.

Beyond that, though, I also have questions about the judgment involved in including the Obama file photo in the print edition at all, photo date in the caption or not. I mean, isn’t the feature billed as photo-documentation of the Heads of State at the September U.N. meeting? And then, by juxtaposing the Obama file photo with Platon’s U.N. portrait of Ahmadinejad on facing pages, isn’t the New Yorker having it both ways, covering itself with the caption, but also co-opting the tension that week surrounding the two men attending the same meeting, Obama’s first General Assembly meeting as U.S. President, creating the sense that Platon captured it on the scene?

by Michael Shaw at 2009-12-04 06:16:03 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

yeah, I agree this sets up a false juxtaposition.

by BignoseTW | 04 Dec 2009 09:12 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
Check out the audio clip attached to the photo on the New Yorker site where Platon talks about using the file photo. It is a bit strange, but they probably assumed they would get the go ahead with Obama, and when he refused they had to run with it.

by Trevor Snapp | 04 Dec 2009 10:12 | Toulouse, France | | Report spam→
Is the audio clip, though, equivalent to a caption? Or does it just offer a fallback to stay, “Well, if you listened to the clip, you’ll know that O’s picture above wasn’t captured simultaneously with the other 48?”

by Michael Shaw | 04 Dec 2009 16:12 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
I didn’t even check the written caption, went straight to Platon’s audio ‘caption’ which was superior. It was clear that the portrait came from a previous shoot.

More important, doesn’t that portrait of Gadaffi rock?

Platon did an excellent job on an assignment with a very high degree of difficulty.


by MACLELLAN | 04 Dec 2009 17:12 | Windsor, Canada | | Report spam→

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Michael Shaw, Photo-Blogger, Psychologi Michael Shaw
Photo-Blogger, Psychologi
Los Angeles , United States ( LAX )
BignoseTW, Videographer/Photographer BignoseTW
(Tobie Openshaw)
Taipei , Taiwan
Trevor Snapp, Photographer Trevor Snapp
Mexico City , Mexico
Windsor , Canada ( DTW )


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