Thursday, October 16, 2008

Did the Camera Lie?

I've been looking for an explanation of this photograph since my son got home from work last night and told me about it. My first reaction was "Photoshop," but others have said no, it actually happened. I erased the overrun on the debate, so I couldn't check it. I also don't think that I saw anything from this angle during the debate.

Josh Olson had it up on his Facebook page and The Huffington Post had a slide show which included John McCain with his tongue equally far out of his mouth in several shots. I found this copy on a British news site. Josh assured me it was real, but he's in the fiction and entertainment industry. I used to be a journalist.

McCain appears to be slightly closer to the camera than Barack Obama is, which would account for the difference in focus. I suspect a VERY long lens was used and the point of focus was on McCain. It might also account for the distortion/fall-off in the out-of-focus script to McCain's right in the background and why the exposure for Barack Obama is soft and a little dark.

While John McCain is not my candidate of choice, I think that going with this image is rather sad. But who am I to talk? I once went out of my way to make the odious Phyllis Schafly look as arrogant and imperious as she came across when I photographed her for the Stanford Daily. I was uncomfortable when the paper went with that image, but I didn't loose sleep over it because it didn't turn her into a laughing stock. It just made her look dangerous, which, of course, she was.

If anyone hears anything about this photograph, I'd sure like to get the story.