More Not Street Street Photography in the New York Times

I appreciated this photo from the Oval Office by Eric Draper in the New York Times a few weeks ago.


Three people seem more able than two or four or more to create a unique kind of compositional harmony, and this picture clearly has it. Trios. Everyone’s walking clockwise. Condi and Tenant are looking forward, while Bush is looking back.

One strange thing about the photo is the painting on the wall of Honest Abe. Maybe it’s the cartoon influence, but it’s difficult to not imagine Abe’s eyes following the whole scene.

A street photograph (of sorts) that wasn’t taken on the street…

5 thoughts on “More Not Street Street Photography in the New York Times”

  1. subtitle is “bush, rice and tenet met after sept. 11 attacks”, why are they smiling?
    Indeed, nice triangle where the fourth one from the wall is peeking in.

  2. i’m sort of fascinated by how shooting and publishing a photo like this influences the viewer’s impression of what’s going on with the people or situation within the photo. What subtext is communicated? What subliminal feeling or takeaway? How do most people in the public read this kind of image?

    Does this make the subjects look decisive, ready, and on the move? In the middle of some action? Or does it make them look disparate? Looking at each other unsure or confused… without a single-mindedness or direction? Following each other… following no one. What does their environment add? Does Abe watching them cast an approving note or a shameful one on the subjects?

    Or does it make them look like they’re playing musical sofa? Perhaps.

    I’m sure some of that comes from what one brings to the image in the first place… but still, there’s power in the photography itself… including the cropping and editing. Thinking about that sort of thing is endlessly interesting to me.

  3. interesting rion–at least when i’m shooting out, i’m not thinking terribly much about what the photo conveys, primarily because of the timing involved…you only have like milliseconds to make up your mind how you want to shoot it. if this indeed was unposed, and in the moment (which it definitely appears to be) — either the photographer is very gifted to think of all that before hand, or, which is more likely, the photographer took several shots, and perhaps the editor picked something that was trying to convey something or another…or maybe the editor thought the geometry was cool. :)

    but yeah i think you raise the always interesting point about what the photographer was seeing and what people bring into the viewing of a photo.


  4. oh and yeah i’ve looked at the cover photo of NYT for a few months now every work day to see if there’s New Heat. :) many times an inspiration!

  5. Dog chasing its tail! (Musical sofa is excellent.)

    Every once in awhile, the Times publishes photos that appear innocuous at first glance, simple illustrations of small facts. But if you stop for a second, other things reveal themselves.

    What I learn from these photos is that there are some sharp shooters (and editors) on beats that could be seen as boring. In fact, I’d hazard to say that a photo like this is more potent than what the journalists in the White House press pool have been writing for the past six years.

    This photo proves that you can do a lot with very little.

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