At his New York Times blog, documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has posted interviews with the head photo editors of the AP, Reuters, and AFP on the photographic record of the Bush administration. Morris asked each interviewee “to pick the photographs of the president that they believe captured the character of the man and of his administration” and then discussed the photos with them along with the reasons each chose the photos they did.
With Standard Operating Procedure Morris has shown an acute interest in understanding the different ways in which the image is used to create reality, along with the ways in which that reality can be interrogated. In these interviews, Morris and each interviewee seem to share a different approach to how these images should be interpreted and what they mean. Although the discussions can sometimes be repetitive, they were a reminder to me of how much my judgments about our last president were based on these photo-ops.
ERROL MORRIS: Yes. Why do you like the picture so much?
VINCENT AMALVY: We don’t understand what is going on. Why does the shadow appear? I suppose it’s a shadow of somebody else beyond the corner. But the picture is only of two guys walking. It’s a profile of George Bush and Barack Obama. And he’s near the Rose Garden of the White House. And so in the back is a shadow of somebody who says, “Bye-bye.” And it is looking like a joke, but it is amazing.
I saw these two responses to the our recent economic woes on BoingBoing.
The first, posted by guest-blogger Clay Shirky, is a graph showing the distribution of the returns of the S&P 500 in 10-percentage-point increments since 1825. The placement of 2008 adds a chilling perspective to our current crisis.
The second is a humorous response to the proposed auto industry bailout in the form of a car advertisement:
A recent New York Times article on the invention and dissemination of atomic weapons included the infographic above on the travels of the atomic bomb. The article references some new works on the history of the bomb, noting that it was only invented once:
All paths stem from the United States, directly or indirectly. One began with Russian spies that deeply penetrated the Manhattan Project. Stalin was so enamored of the intelligence haul, Mr. Reed and Mr. Stillman note, that his first atom bomb was an exact replica of the weapon the United States had dropped on Nagasaki.
Moscow freely shared its atomic thefts with Mao Zedong, China’s leader. The book [Robert S. Norris’s Racing for the Bomb] says that Klaus Fuchs, a Soviet spy in the Manhattan Project who was eventually caught and, in 1959, released from jail, did likewise. Upon gaining his freedom, the authors say, Fuchs gave the mastermind of Mao’s weapons program a detailed tutorial on the Nagasaki bomb. A half-decade later, China surprised the world with its first blast.