My friend The BAG pointed out there's lots to look at in the latest White House slideshow, which features photos highlighting Obama's handling of the economic crisis. My favorite image is this one from a meeting with members of the Economic Council in the Roosevelt Room (FYI, it's a Saturday - note the Prez's Mr. Rogers sweater) :
Let's consider what my visual politics students have learned to call the logic of figuration in this image: Obama's outstretched gesture organizes the photograph in ways that tell us what to look at. Which, in this case, is the portrait of FDR hanging across the room. FDR looks down (approvingly?) at Obama, Obama turns the viewer's attention to FDR via his gesture, and Larry Summers, the weak side of this triangle, sits there like a schoolboy taking notes in class. Given that Summers may not be 100% gung-ho about every aspect of Obama's economic plan, it's easy to figure out whose side we are supposed to be on here. And in case we're not entirely sure, we can take note of Rahm Emanuel's dagger eyes boring into Summers's skull.
Happily, this image also appears to mark the end of FDR's Bush-era exile from the Roosevelt Room. Nice to see you again, Mr. President!
Image credit: Pete Souza, White House, 1.24.09. "President Barack Obama makes his point to Lawrence Summers, left, head of the National Economic Council, and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, seated next to Summers, during a Saturday budget meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room in the President's first week in office. Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, is seated to the President's left."