Monday, June 27, 2005

Shake on it

While surfing through my usual news sites, and while reading a piece about President Bush and German President Schroeder, came upon this picture (follow the link):

The thing that struck me most about this picture was how unnatural a position this was for a handshake. I'm sure this happens all the time, and isn't a reflection on our current president more than any other political leader, but the pose here just screams out "I'm shaking this man's hand for a photo opportunity."

What's more, because of the timing of the shot, we're left without knowing whether or not Schroeder returns the handshake. I assume he did so, since such a snub would likely have been talked about. But all we have here is Bush reaching out, potentially to be left hanging. If (as I assume) Schroeder returned the handshake, he no doubt did so within seconds (or even fractions of a second) after the shot was taken. But from the standpoint of this picture alone, we might never know.

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But it seems to me that context is everything. We must ask what the context of a picture is to truly understand it. Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand questions?

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