What a Day

Back at home editing the day’s take, basking in the moment that was today. All 16 hours of it. To paraphrase a sentiment of Michael Shaw (of BNN) after attending the DNC, “how strange it is to be on the movie set as opposed to viewing it through the media”. This was my first major political event, and a big one at that. Looking back at what I’ve seen and felt these past days it will be fascinating to compare it with the pictures I have made (plus the editors’ interpretations of it) and those made by my collegues around DC. This has to be the most photographed event in history (cliche? but I think its true). I have always said, when asked why I am a photojournalist, that I wanted to witness history, to ‘be there’ and communicate to others what my personal interpretations of the moment were. I finally got my chance with a major event where ‘the whole world was watching’. It’ll take time for that, and the pictures, to sink in.
Along the Pennsylvania Avenue as Barack Obama is sworn in as President of the United States. January 20, 2009.

I’ll have more pictures coming before too long (also see The Bag for more) but here are a couple of links to other work and ‘interpretations’ of today that I’ve responded to while sitting here tonight.

Iris Burnett of We’re Just Sayin’ talks about why she didn’t attend the inauguration, with many brilliant words.

Callie Shell for TIME rocks things with disorientatingly intimate and personal shots “Behind the Scenes of Obama’s Big Day”. I’m especially struck by this image (13) which I’ll give analysis of here, or on BAG, a little later. Suffice to say it digs into something deep that wasn’t readily apparent from the parade grounds or the little bit of television coverage I caught in a window.

Now, in non-Inauguration things:
The Twitter Heard Round The World: jkrum’s picture of the Hudson Plane Crash (taken on an iphone!). Really, a beautiful and important picture. In line for the Pulitzer?? there is a history of amateur pictures winning..

Related, DesignNotes by Michael Surtees details his interactions with the news flow of the downing of Flt 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City. Fascinating breakdown of how new media (citizen media? see link above and all the twitters) is getting information out to (certain) individuals with hardly believable speed. Really remarkable. As he says,

Thinking about it now, the speed of events was pretty crazy. Within an hour and half I had learned that a plane had landed in the Hudson River, saw images within minutes of it happening, watched the rescue live, hearing survivors being interviewed soon after, and by the time it was over knowing that everyone was going to live – I was listening to music from A Flock Of Seagulls. All the tools that I used to get more info was available to anyone out there which was kind of cool in itself.

Now in ‘current events in pictures’: two wonderful and searing views of the Gaza insanity from a couple of favorite photographers: Tivadar Domaniczky and Alex Majoli.

Plus: On Sunday I was blessed to be able to visit the newly opened Robert Frank exhibition at the National Museum of Art on the Mall (which I previously wrote about) and it was Fucking Brilliant. The best photo exhibition I’ve ever seen, and not just because of the work … it was very smartly curated and designed. Contact sheets, prints from earlier work, collages of work prints and that awesome Catalogue. If you are in DC or can get there, Go. If not, Get the book. The Americans made me the photographer I am in the first place, seeing it again revitalized me (and reaffirmed my belief to ‘go it my way’) ever more.
A young vendor sells Obama-themed merchandise and flags at dusk near the White House on the Eve of Obama's inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 19, 2009.
And one more time for those here who haven’t got the message: GO READ BagNewsNotes for some really insightful and engaging thought about the visual politics of this (historic) moment. Oh, and Rachel Maddow really was as gorgeous, humble and altogether wonderful as people say while stuck in line at the 12th Street security barrier with me (and thousands of others).

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