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Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op (New Edition)

Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Picture Perfect
    Book Description:

    We say the camera doesn't lie, but we also know that pictures distort and deceive. InPicture Perfect, Kiku Adatto brilliantly examines the use and abuse of images today. Ranging from family albums to Facebook, political campaigns to popular movies, images of war to pictures of protest. Adatto reveals how the line between the person and the pose, the real and the fake, news and entertainment is increasingly blurred. New technologies make it easier than ever to capture, manipulate, and spread images. But even in the age of the Internet, we still seek authentic pictures and believe in the camera's promise to document, witness, and interpret our lives.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2455-7
    Subjects: Political Science, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiii)
  4. Introduction: The Age of the Photo Op
    (pp. 1-40)

    On Thursday, May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush soared above the Pacific in a Navy Viking jet. The Navy pilot then made a dramatic tail-hook landing on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USSAbraham Lincoln, just returning from the Iraq War. Bush emerged from the plane in a flight suit and helmet, strode across the deck, shook hands, posed for pictures with members of the crew, and then watched a dramatic flyover by F-18 fighter jets. Later, in suit and tie, with a big banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” in the background, Bush stood before the assembled crew and dignitaries...

  5. Chapter 1 Picture Perfect
    (pp. 41-66)

    Just before noon on March 8, 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, a French painter and inventor, traveled through the streets of Paris to an appointment with a visitor from America. For over seventeen years, Daguerre had been the proprietor of one of the most popular spectacles in Paris, a theater of illusions called the Diorama.

    No actors performed in Daguerre’s Diorama theater. It consisted of a revolving floor that presented views of three stages. On each stage was an enormous canvas (72 by 48 feet) with scenes painted on both sides. Through the clever play of light, Daguerre could make one scene...

  6. Chapter 2 Photo-Op Politics
    (pp. 67-105)

    Standing before a campaign rally in Pennsylvania in October 1968, the Democratic vice presidential candidate Edmund Muskie tried to speak, but a group of antiwar protesters drowned him out. Muskie offered the hecklers a deal. He would give the platform to one of their representatives if he could then speak without interruption.

    Rick Brody, the students’ choice, stepped to the microphone where, cigarette in hand, he delivered an impassioned if disjointed case against the establishment. Those who saw the demonstrators as “commie pinko rads” were wrong. “We’re here as Americans.” To cheers from the crowd, he denounced the candidates that...

  7. Chapter 3 Contesting Control of the Picture
    (pp. 106-140)

    Some of the most thoughtful critics of the change in network coverage of presidential campaigns were found at the networks themselves. Bill Wheatley was in charge of NBC’s campaign coverage for 1992. In 1988, he was the executive producer of theNBC Nightly News. He spent much of the time in between thinking of ways to overcome such problems as manipulation by campaign image makers and the compression of speech on the evening news.

    Wheatley viewed the turn to photo-op coverage in the 1970s and 1980s as an attempt by reporters to reveal the campaigns’ manipulation of images for television....

  8. Chapter 4 Exposed Images
    (pp. 141-186)

    The annual portrait of the justices of the Supreme Court is not usually worthy of note, but Stephen Crowley’s 1995 front-page photograph in theNew York Timeswas no ordinary picture. Instead of the traditional dignified pose, readers of the paper saw the trappings of a photo session laid bare: the justices are viewed from a distance, framed by a large curtained backdrop in a room that has been rearranged and lit for the camera. They are caught unaware in the act of posing. Almost a decade later, theTimesran a similar Crowley photograph inside the Sunday paper on...

  9. Chapter 5 Mythic Pictures and Movie Heroes
    (pp. 187-242)

    By most accounts, 1968 was a year of unraveling certitude and faith. Thousands of American soldiers had been killed or wounded in Vietnam. Thousands more returned home to a nation that did not recognize them as heroes. The Tet Offensive gave the lie to the government’s confident promise of victory against the North Vietnamese. Eugene McCarthy scored a stunning victory against Lyndon Johnson in the New Hampshire primary, prompting the incumbent president to withdraw from the race. Not only liberal politicians but even Walter Cronkite also came out against the war. Along with the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin...

  10. Chapter 6 The Person and the Pose
    (pp. 243-262)

    Today we are aware, as never before, of the artifice that constitutes the pose. We are as fascinated by how images are made as we are by what they mean. In popular culture, politics, and everyday life we have elevated the image-making process to a subject in its own right. In some moods we are connoisseurs of the slickly produced image, whether in political ads, celebrity photos, or popular movies. In other moods we are outraged by the distortions and deceits that images purvey.

    Fascinated though we are with the process of image making, another side of us believes in...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 263-278)
  12. Index
    (pp. 279-290)