I’ll have to admit that I’m disappointed with most of the photography that has emerged from these past weeks that have dealt with the inauguration of the Obama administration. I think this is in part because I - like pretty much most other people - have such high hopes that we’ll see something better now, after these past eight, unbelievably ugly years. Maybe I wanted to see that idea of “better” reflected in the photographs, and inevitably things would then end up being disappointing.
In any case, this photo above - a dageurreotype taken by Jerry Spagnoli is probably my favourite photo out of the many I’ve seen. It’s not because it’s a dageurreotype (I admit I can’t wait to see the actual object some day!), but it just seems to have curious feelings of timelessness and mystique in it - so it leaves a bit of space for the viewer.
You can’t even really see the person at the podium. But you can see that everybody seems to be looking there, and even though of course you’d see that at every inauguration, right now this focal point seems to embody the feeling of so many people most perfectly. In that sense, the photo lives from that which you can’t see (and you can’t ruin the mystique by zooming in).