A little more election coverage

Callie Shell / Aurora - Obama's perspective of the campaign trail Aug. 31, 2008

Matt had hinted in our first post-election linkdump that we’d have more to share. He covered most of what I wanted to show, though. One shot that really stood out for me was the above picture from August by Callie Shell, to whom we’ve linked before. I’m pointing out the obvious here, but the parallels to Paul Fusco’s amazing RFK Funeral Train essay are astounding. I’ve included a picture below, but the whole series or the narrated slideshow published by the NYT earlier this year are worth a look. Both offer a compelling glance at history and politics from the other side, looking outward from within. There’s a glimpse of hope, solemness, solidarity, patriotism, and gravity in the pictures that a lot of political photography often lacks. I found Shell’s picture in BagNewsNotes’ liveblogging of the visual side of election night.

Paul Fusco / Magnum - USA. 1968. Robert Kennedy funeral train.

Matt also previously linked to Newseum’s collection of Nov. 5th’s newspaper covers. Loved the San Francisco Chronicle’s cover. And while all of the Obama covers sold out, most everyone probably got their news on television or online. News websites have a massive tendency toward linkrot, revisions, and other transient symptoms; their coverage disappears into the ether, and the Internet Archive‘s a pretty poor substitute for microfiche. Electioneering ’08 stepped in to fill the void with periodic screenshots of major news websites throughout the night of the election. Click on a date and time and you’ll see the front page of the New York Times, Drudge Report, CNN, the McCain and Obama campaign websites, and other significant sites. Here’s Nov. 4th at 10:45pm compared with 11:15pm, when most organizations had called the election. Fascinating to see the progression. (Got that link from Kottke.org, who’s also got a great roundup of election maps from various news sites. Keep an eye out for the hand-drawn map on a whiteboard, which reminded me of a photo of a hand-drawn stock ticker in Iraq. Kottke also recently linked to an interesting visual analysis by Serial Consign of the LA Times front pages and website from 1895 to 2006. I’m getting distracted….)

Jon Lowenstein / Noor - Melissa Knight, from the series Election Day Polaroids

Can’t remember where I first saw this linked…Jon Lowenstein put up an interesting set of polaroids from election day on the Noor Images site. Great work offering a perspective of election day in Chicago far removed from the glitz of the celebration that night in Grant Park.

The Economist - Nov. 1, 2008 cover

PDNpulse posted a list of what they say are the 5 photos that clinched the election for Obama. The above Economist cover didn’t make the cut, and didn’t deserve to, but I like it anyway. Not as much as the Rolling Stone cover mentioned in PDNpulse’s article, though…

I also want to point out pictures being posted to Flickr such as this one or these, in which voters documented their polling stations, waiting in line to vote, and other happenings during the voting process. The pictures aren’t good by any aesthetic measure, but I think it’s interesting to see these social media sites used as a way of recording one’s own history and using that as a way, in this case, to make sure that the election is being conducted properly. Flickr is the world’s largest shoebox, and there’s a future jackpot of anthropological treasure waiting in these sorts of shots, if they survive the years better than Digital Railroad.

I was also particularly fascinated by the strong use of black and white still photography in Barack Obama’s infomercial, which aired on a number of US networks and youtube prior to the election. The video throughout the piece is well done, but nothing makes an impact like a beautifully shot photo. At least that’s why I think the production team chose a still photo for the closing note of one of Obama’s final appeals to the American people.

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