Text and Image Photography

New Images Photography

Critiquing Obama Family Portrait

obama_family_portraitCyberspace is roiling content associated with the new First Family portrait. Annie Leibovitz took the picture on September 1, and the news about it is just coming out now.

Not many people are commenting on the image because they seemed to be obsessed with the fact that Leibovitz is broke. She made some deal with a pawnbroker company and owes it millions.

But what about the picture? Has Leibovitz flunked photography 101? Probably not, but I can point out some flaws in the image that most photographers would avoid. Here’s what I found a bit off in the family portrait:

1. Michelle’s black dress. As a small image on the Internet, it looks as if it’s solid black. It also lies one-third from the right part of the frame (following the Rule of Thirds). I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the first thing I observe in an image to be black. It look’s as if her body has been cut out of the picture with scissors. Leibovitz should consider how her images will look on the Internet.

2. The framed picture behind Sasha’s head. Photography’s number one rule is to not have objects popping out of people’s heads.

3. Sasha’s hand. It looks as if it was cut and pasted and set on Obama’s shoulder.

4. The urn on top of the fireplace. Annie, you should have removed that. It’s too distracting. It takes away from the subjects in the picture.

Okay, so I’ve been ratty enough. All-in-all, I have to say I really like the picture once I look past the flaws, which to some aren’t flaws at all. Leibovitz probably set up the shot so that the picture frame behind Sasha’s head and the urn on top of the fireplace give viewers an idea of how the Green Room looks.

Enough said. What do you think?

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