« Book o' the Week: A Real Honey | Main | 'Seacoal' »

Tuesday, 03 May 2011

Comments

It's most certainly Pete Souza's shot. He's ALWAYS there!

IPTC Byline: Pete Souza

I agree completely Mike. Yes, it is Pete Souza and has been on the front page of the NYT for some time.

It's currently front and center on the New York Times website, and attributed to "Pete Souza/The White House".

Indeed it is Pete Souza's shot. Inside the details of the main photo page.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/5680724572/in/set-72157626507626189/

I stumbled on this flickr blog yesterday and I love the different reactions of the people in this photo. Can you imagine that this was just one moment of what would have been hours in an operation? That room would have been pretty tense.

Pak

According to the notes on the photo "Official White House Photo by Pete Souza"

Mike,

Did you notice the digitally altered document in front of Hilary? The LA Times (I think) actually noted that a document had been digitally altered because it was classified.

Yes, it is Pete Souza. You can download the picture from flickr and see it in the captions.

For anyone who's interested: the info on gear and settings is also there. Not that I think it matters; getting a shot like this depends on the abilities of the photographer, not on his or her tool.

The caption says it's Pete Souza.

At the end of the first para....
'...(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)'.

;-)

phil

I hate to say this, as Osama was an evil man, richly deserving retribution, but I interpret the demeanor of the assembled officers to be in response to their understanding that they were watching a murder.
For this reason I found the jubilation in the streets somewhat inapropriate.
I am thrilled we pulled it off, and are better for it, but the government people were watching an extra-judicial beheading, and the mood should have been solemn.

I'm not certain that this is an appropriate comment, but Marty Feldman once said that in any important picture there is always one person not looking at the same thing as everyone else. (That may not be an exact quote.)

It was running on the front of the telegraph website in the UK for most of the day, too. I kept getting drawn back to this shot: quite a study in the range of reactions to such an event. Utterly compelling.

Interesting detail. Obama actually ceded "the big chair" to a lowly one star general so the man can do his job. Notice the Presidential seal directly behind the chair. This does say something about Obama and his view of how to run a team.

The blurring of the document was noted with the original release by the White House, because they adhere to the "nothing can be altered in Journalism photos" rule, so when they did, it was mentioned.

All in all a great day for the world. A big piece of the international nightmare was removed. No joy, since the harm was done long ago...

Please see http://agonist.org/numerian/20110503/osama_bin_laden_sui_generis for an excellent article about Bin Laden.

I have no love for the guy but 10 years later he might now prove to be more dangerous dead than alive.

I'm glad someone called this shot out, as I found it riveting when first I saw it on the NYT site Monday. This is Pete Souza performing photography at the very pinnacle of what it's capable of capturing. This is an image that will certainly become historically iconic. (Note the obscured document on the computer.)

It's a scene with precedence in Hollywood, too. I immediately thought of "The Guns of October", "Thirteen Days", "Patriot Games", just to name a few titles that feature such an image.

I'm sure Pete Souza will never receive the credit he deserves for such an image. But let's lift a collective, world-wide glass to his remarkable skill!

I want to know who the young lady is, taking a sneak peek from the door?
She looks out of place, stretching to see.

Looking at the largest image size available (about 11.2MP) it's clear that the focus was on Hillary, which I find appropriate given hers is the only emotional reaction in the room (everyone else is just watching, plain faced).

Another great moment captured by Pete Souza (whose name is in the EXIF, by the way).

I want to know who the young lady is, taking a sneak peek from the door? She looks out of place, stretching to see.

from the caption: Audrey Tomason, Director for Counterterrorism

Charwck,

I think "murder" as well as "extra-judicial" are very unfortunate word choices. The dictionary describes murder as "the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another."

The death of bin Laden was certainly premeditated but unlawful is another story.

Other explanations for the viewer's facial expressions could be because they were witnessing a death during an act of war or they were witnessing a death during a moment of self defense (bin Laden was most certainly involved in planning additional attacks on combatants and non-combatant civilians alike). Death in both of those circumstances is arguably justified and legal.

I'm not sure where your characterization of "beheading" comes from. No reports to date that I've read indicate any such action took place in the attack.

Regardless of the qualifiers, the choice of photographs (from the many I'm sure that were taken during the briefing) and the viewer's facial expressions in the photograph exhibit a solemness commensurate with the moment.

ddlee,

Audrey Tomason, Director for Counterterrorism.

Thanks, but that's enough on the topic of murder, lawful/unlawful, or anything related. Not the place.

Mike the Moderator

I read somewhere that Bin Ladin hid behind a woman possibly his wife? if this is true what these people are witnessing is a navy seal executing a female to get at Bin Ladin, no wonder Hilary Clinton has a look of shock, horror on her face.It may be possible to justify this shoot to kill policy in non democratic totalitarian ran regimes but surely not by those who proclaim their country "The home of The Free",

If the absence of the picture on TOP is not a mistake, note that since it is a US government work (as noted under License on the flickr page) it's not under copyright at all (http://www.usa.gov/copyright.shtml) and thus free for all to use as they like. (In this world of draconian copyright law and fear/misunderstanding of "fair use", I find this admirable. I wish my country would have the same principle.)

It is a great and fascinating photograph indeed... maybe the best politics/government related image I've seen since the start of this administration. Obama's expression is amazing - so unguarded.

Once I get beyond the seriousness and details of the event itself, I am struck by a detail -- the size of the room. I had always envisioned the room where important national security events were discussed and monitored to be much larger and more elaborate.

Yes, the camera's point of focus is clearly on Clinton's eyes. The emotional focus coincides there too, in my view.

I don't believe anyone has mentioned it yet, but there is an excellent documentary on Pete Souza, called The President's Photographer, available on Netflix streaming and free on PBS streaming.

"You can download the picture from flickr and see it in the captions": You can also view the EXIF and related info online.

I agree, Mike. That photo was riveting to me. And Hilary's hand-to-the-face expression, for me, is the most compelling: she seems appalled, as she should be watching such an event. One does not have to feel sympathy for the target to feel such an emotion at that moment.

Maybe it will make her a better president some day!

For those of you who did not see the PBS show about Pete Souza, here is the link:

http://www.pbs.org/programs/presidents-photographer/

You can see the man and how he works... oh, and the gear, too.

That's what the caption says. They could have been watching the Capitals game on TV.

Just to add to the comments made by Ken (if it is not inappropriate), There was a lot going on during this event. As readers here will recall, one of the US helicopters went down in the compound. One report suggested it was due to debris stirred up by the rotor blades of the hovering helicopter.

Great collection of faces.

There's a moment in a Tom Clancy film, I believe "The Sum of All Fears", in which an SAS commando team wipes out a terrorist camp in Libya, while CIA people watch via satellite. Some of the CIA people are very casual about it, drinking coffee, etc. This shows the reality of these things -- tension, focus, even a little fear (?). Good shot.

JC

The look on their faces says it all -

I'm not making any comment about this particular photo, but reading people's comments reminded me how elusive the veracity of any photograph can be. Think how much we depend on the supporting info to inform our reaction.

Fantastic image -- reminded me of that speech from January 16, 1961.

"Maybe it will make her a better president some day!"

Jeff,
I thought Hillary had announced that Sec. of State is her last government job and that she would not be running again? She's older than she looks (63).

Mike

"Think how much we depend on the supporting info to inform our reaction."

Yes, and we don't know what part of the operation they're watching in the photo.

Mike

Pete Souza clearly possesses a security clearance to work within the White House, but I am very surprised he was allowed to be in the Situation room as the events unfolded live. If the operation had gone wrong, there would have been an unholy clampdown on information leaking, and every single person present is a potential source of leakage. I have worked within UK Government departments (chiefly Defence), and worked alongside American military colleagues for long enough to know that the "Need to Know" principle is applied rigorously in the US, and in this case knowledge of the operation would very clearly have been at the SCI (Special Compartmented Intelligence) level. Still, a great image.

One thing I find fascinating about this photo: imagine if you could go back in time 10 years and were to ask people to look at this photo and point to the person they think is the President.

Most would probably point to blue-shirt, arms folded guy in front of the Presidential seal. Some might point at the seated blue-shirt guy (Biden). Some might even say "OMG, the General! There's been a military coup!" But how many would point to the guy in the corner?

What strikes me is the anger I see in the faces.

I'm disturbed that a group of photography enthusiasts had so much trouble reading the caption. The photographer and subjects were clearly identified.

"There's a moment in a Tom Clancy film, I believe "The Sum of All Fears", in which an SAS commando team wipes out a terrorist camp in Libya, while CIA people watch via satellite. Some of the CIA people are very casual about it, drinking coffee, etc."

Just for the record, the movie you're thinking about was "Patriot Games".

I saw this on the CNN website (I believe) sometime yesterday. I wondered, given the obvious reaction by Hillary whether they were watching a feed of the military operation. Is that confirmed?

Chuck, Obama is not a Capitals fan. Mrs. Obama has been to a game, if I recall correctly.

This reminds me of photos taken at Cape Canaveral and the White House during our space shots in the '60s.

Actually, according to this account (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/world/asia/03intel.html?ref=global-home) the folks in the Situation Room were watching a live feed of...Leon Panetta, delivering a blow-by-blow account of the raid--from his office in Langley! (Life is not a Tom Clancy novel.)

That photo can't be right... on TV and movies all the high tech computers are always Macs.... those are all PCs... the government even used a Mac to plant a virus on the alien spaceship in "Independence Day"... nope, that picture can't be right.

History is more better in B/W than color when this is worst.

I watched that show on Pete Souza last fall on PBS and found it absolutely fascinating. Highly recommended for this TOP audience. I wouldn't want that job because of the intensity of the work involved, but I'm glad that someone of Souza's caliber is doing it!

"I read somewhere that Bin Ladin hid behind a woman possibly his wife?"

Again regarding reporting veracity, the only thing I've seen stated is that one woman was killed and it was because an enemy combatant had used her as a human shield. We're still in the early parts of the reports, and there are sure to be some rumors and plain falsehoods slipping their way into stories in this first week of quick reporting. This could be one of those.

To extrapolate what was said thus far to say that a marine intentionally killed a woman to get at bin Laden is akin to someone assuming that Mrs. Clinton's reaction in the photo was Photoshopped in. It's a very very large unsupported assumption.

I'm not claiming it didn't or wouldn't happen, but there's no way to know right now.

D.C. Wells wrote on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 at 10:07 AM
> I am struck by a detail -- the size of the room. I had always envisioned the room where important national security events were discussed and monitored to be much larger and more elaborate.


Combined with the voice communication channels and the laptop computers used for detailed data display, the room's large wall displays probably convey enough information to the participants when they are handling a "situation".

http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/5508432156/

More pics of the Situation Room:

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=35591378@N03&q=situation%20room


The classified document in front of Hillary Clinton was probably a fairly high-resolution picture of bin Laden's compound, taken by a spy satellite. The imaging resolution of current spy satellites is a well-guarded secret, and blurring the picture prevents potential adversaries from inferring the satellite's capabilities.

I find it sad the Americans are rejoicing over another death but I hope the families who have lost loved ones to terrorism can feel some peace.

ddlee wrote on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 at 09:04 AM
> I want to know who the young lady is, taking a sneak peek from the door?
> She looks out of place, stretching to see.

It seems a Jewish newspaper also thought that that young lady — as well as Hillary Clinton — were looking out of place in that historic picture, and photoshopped them out...

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/05/09/hasidic-jewish-newspaper-photoshops-hillary-clinton-from-situation-room-photo/


Well, although I don't find this photo anything special (with all my respect to the photographer) I find it hilarious that there are newspapers (namely Der Tzitung), which care to photoshop all the women out of it.
http://jezebel.com/5799724/hillary-clinton-photoshopped-out-of-situation-room-photo

The comments to this entry are closed.