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Tuesday, 25 August 2015


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Best Blog Note Ever.

Why has the USA worked so hard to make politics a farcical side-show? What's the upside?

This picture reminds me, how fragile any democracy is. We take it for granted that people should vote on basis of a well thought out and balanced decision process. The reality though is much closer to what is shown here.

Mike, I support Trump. I understand the aversion to his pomposity and the ease at which his hair can be ridiculed, but compared to the rest of the field he actually articulates economic policies that would improve things for most Americans. Would he actually be effective in Washington? Probably not, but not any less than any other idealistic president. I welcome him simply for disrupting the status quo.

The issue I have with these kinds of photos and the editorializing that goes with them is the sheer bigotry and bias the "intellectuals" and elites openly have for middle and lower class white Americans. "Rednecks", farmers, and blue collar whites are the only openly discriminated class left... there are no 4H members in any of our Ivy League colleges because they are overlooked for scholarships in favor of more "diversity". Consider if the same type of photo were made in a black neighborhood with Obama ~ would your caption and editorializing be quite so flip and insulting?

And as for humor, Joe Biden is a gift, Bernie Sanders has such potential and watching Hillary squirm is far more entertaining than following Trump's combover.

[Obama is a serious politician and serious candidate. If "the same type of photo" were made in a black neighborhood with, say, Kanye West as the Democratic front-runner, then yes, you would absolutely see the same sort of commentary out of me. --Mike]

From George Washington to Donald Trump. Is he our Caligula?

"I thought I'd hear from you, Frank! Politically you're the anti-me and vice-versa—but our shared interest in photography bridges that divide and makes us friends "despite.""

The best part of that is, although your leaving was a loss to Wisconsin's electoral scene, at least you'll now neutralize Frank's votes in New York. Upstate New York, no less! :-)

What's next? Trump is so delusional! I bet he will next order the construction of a huge fake Greek temple, and using it as a backdrop will tell us how he has come to stop the rise of the oceans. Oh wait...

This *is* an excellent picture - and I despise "The Donald". I love all the camera phones - this is a wonderfully recursive photo.

How Trump(et) manages to pull off the "I'm a conservative" shtick only demonstrates the plummeting rate of practical literacy in America.

Meaning, people don't read enough and when they do, so many don't apply any critical analysis to what they've read (or heard).

George Will said it best in a recent column:


Every time I read about Trump's campaign in Mexico I just can ask: have the United States really fell so low? (Peña Nieto is clearly at the bottom of our grand list of failed presidents).

Count the cameras.

Perfect image, indeed. Well-done Mark!

(The politics are irrelevant, folks.)

I must admit my first impression was that it was a very good photoshop. Now that I see a larger version here on TOP; I'm still thinking Gregory Crewdson meets Norman Rockwell.

I suppose life does sometimes imitate art.

I love the way everyone is worshiping him with their iPhone, it reminds me of the sandal scene in the Life of Brian.

The best description I heard was that Trump is a living Blogsite comment section. (present site excepted, of course)

Has Norman Rockwell all over it (I mean it as a GOOD thing). No matter what I think about Trump. Great picture.

@Frank, what policies, seriously?

And obviously this is not a political venue.

The image has a bizarrely fake feel to it. Rockwell meets Mad, indeed.

I didn't know it was a toup -- thought it was just a bad comb-over. REALLY bad.

It's a nicely composed picture with the eye going from Trump to the baby and mother to the sign.

But there is also a weird aspect to this picture and it's a lone right hand reaching in next to the woman in the pink hat that also has her right hand extending towards Trump.

Where is the rest of the body that belongs to that lonely right hand?


Looking at that photo, I'm fighting off an overwhelming desire to emigrate.

You forgot this from TomAdelsbach.com, which he has released on the Web:


Much as I love this image, and share your thoughts about the picture and Mr. Trunp, I'm surprised you we're so frank.
If I were in the "blog/online" business as you are, I'd be afraid of exciting the possible nut case that lurks out there!
Within this photo, you can see this inability to make serious judgments about important issues without having the need to idolize celebrity. And that's scary.
I also wonder if the woman and her child are related to the fellow in the blue shirt on the right, getting his picture.
But I guess all political campaign photos are provocative, to some degree, no matter left or right,- or in the middle.

Are you sure that article wasn't this one, from the New York Times? http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/business/yourmoney/whats-he-really-worth.html

Jesus was a well documented advocate and supporter of billionaires in his time, and being the ardent, Christ like figure that he is, I'm sure President Trump would carry on in the humble, compassionate nature of Christ himself.

Great photo of its type. Has everything anyone running for office could want. Ego boosting even for a Trump (if that is possible).

On the brighter side, I suspect in 6 months he will be a footnote in the also ran column.

As its going now this will be another election of voting for the lesser evil of two.

As you knew I would, I stand with Frank on this one, although I'm not actually a Trump supporter. I deeply appreciate that he is saying things that need to be said, without fear or favor, but I hope that the Republican candidate will be Ted Cruz, who says most of the things that Trump is saying, but in a much more articulate, thoroughly thought-out way.

As far as the photo goes, I'm sure some careful research would turn up a photograph of similar idol-worship of the Obamanation from the 2008 campaign.

This photo illustrates for me just how much of a crazy (some might suggest insane) circus American politics is. It's as if a large crowd has turned out to worship a great hero.

Alabama - that's the bible belt right? The earth is 6000 years old, Jesus spoke american, and global warming is a hoax.

That picture is brilliant, but VERY scary.

Please remember Irving Schild as the photographer of most, if not all, of those Mad magazine gag photos.
I'm personally satisfied that Mr. Trump has what is known as a comb over, not a toupeé.

For you amusement: http://mlkshk.com/p/15K34

For anyone who is interested politics, a dark comedy written for The Atlantic: "A dispatch from the future... the election of Donald Trump"


@Robert Roaldi I haven't read the book, but it reminds me of the first thing my logic teacher told us [I was getting a BA in philosophy]. "I'm going to rewire your brains... and you won't be able to think the same way again" Studying formal logic really changed how I think because it changed my intuitions. [by intuition I simply mean 'what ever seems like it should be right'] An example of this is 'Modus Tollens.'

I've done enough logic that my modus tollens feels right, but that was not the case when I was first learning this stuff.

I think the best caption quip for the photo I saw was on Twitter in which the mother was saying "PLEASE EAT MY BABY GOD OF ANGER"

Terrific, iconic, image. Your political views aside, you've got to admit it: Trump is a real showman and Wallheiser captures that perfectly. It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton, say, generating so much life and exuberance.

Frank P- I welcome Trump too, if for slightly different reasons. Perhaps you could explain why any working person would welcome and support anyone born with a sliver spoon in their mouth who has never done an honest day's work in their entire life.

The first indicator that this pix isn't PShopped is that the people are holding iPhones, NOT pro-bodied CaNikons with 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses :-)

The reason that Trump is popular is that he isn't a politician. He comes across as authentic. This is Surrealism at it's best.

About that double-sided thing: one of most famous Peanuts strips is when little Sally comes home, looks about secretly, motions to her bigger brother Charlie Brown. They hide betwee some heavy furniture, and Sally whispers to Charlie: "We prayed in school today."
Schultz said that this strip had been used a lot by both sides of the debate.

Re the picture, what struck me first was the sign. Depending on how you parse it, it may say "Jesus for President", "Lord for Jesus", or "Lord for President Trump".

A seamless cross between Norman Rockwell and Mad Magazine -- brilliant insight! The only thing wrong with it is that it may to a disservice to Rockwell.

"Being reasonable is not nearly as natural as we think it is..."

I've never thought people to be reasonable at all. Just the opposite. To be reasonable requires one to be able to reason, to think. Humans are very capable LEARNERS - tell them or show them something and they can REMEMBER it, but just take notice of how many people you know have the ability to actually think - to consider a situation and it's possible outcomes and then to plan action accordingly and you will find that very few people do think.

I went through the slide show at the Washington Post link (comment from Severian). This is the only picture that has been cropped. I wonder what was cropped out.

For those of us in the rest of the world, we look on with bemusement at the way in which the self-proclaimed champion of democracy gives rise to such antics...

Thank you for this The Donald description: America's car alarm going off for no reason.

The photo is great in its own bizarre way, and it has spawned a zillion Photoshopped versions.

This is so Mort Drucker, especially that woman in the front.

The photograph is excellent......makes me wish I possessed the levels of talent, judgement and energy it takes to produce such things. Thanks for the commentary, I had almost forgotten about your disdain for the Republican party.

«From George Washington to Donald Trump. Is he our Caligula?»
Probably not, but he could be your Silvio Berlusconi.

TOP photo; gulp.

Fantastic! I predict a major award...

This image reminds me of very similar scenes captured back in 2008, when another man was elected to the presidency on a wave of cult-like, unquestioning adoration.

"a seamless cross between Norman Rockwell and Mad magazine"

Spot on! I keep studying it, because it is such an amazing composition. I think I see some HDR work, or perhaps in LR, pegging the sliders.

Politically? I hope we're not seeing the embryonic days of a REAL authoritarian government. Fingers crossed. And I will join in on 2016 phone banks and GOTV campaigns.

I love the photo! One of the best "honest" political images of the season. As far as a presidential candidate, I would prefer Jack Nicholson over Trump. Actually thinking about it maybe Jack might make a great VP to Trump. Ummm the possibilities.

The "Norman Rockwell and Mad magazine" insight is one of your best ever, Mike.

Sadly, I bet you very few people quite get the reference now. Mad magazine, in its heyday, was an American cultural gem. It should be required reading in high school level in both literature and visual arts courses.

The "Norman Rockwell and Mad magazine" insight is one of your best ever, Mike.

Sadly, I bet you very few people quite get the reference now. Mad magazine, in its heyday, was an American cultural gem. It should be required reading in high school in both literature and visual arts courses.

I don't know Mr. Trump. Therefore I can not hate him. You and many of your viewers must know him well to be driven to write such awful things about him. Just because you disagree with a persons political point of view shouldn't cause you to hate the person.I will continue to read your blog because of my interest in photography but it is getting close. Ernest Theisen

And no more nor less real is John (Johnny Rotten) Lyndon. (See the Vice story Anarchy in the U.S.: Johnny Rotten Is Now an American Citizen. https://noisey.vice.com/blog/john-lydon-johnny-rotten-interview-2015 )

In England it's a small-time circus as opposed to the bigger clowns here. [Laughs] Do you really want the world run by a real estate agent who has a very low opinion of his fellow human beings but a very high opinion of himself? That's worrying. As opposed to an old biddy who doesn't know how to use a fax machine? [Laughs] I'm spoilt for choice, aren't I?

Paul Heartfield's image of him and his band mates is not so perfectly composed as Wallheiser's but still Rockwellian in its own way.

There's also a superb B&W portrait of Lyndon at Vice, with a great (you could even say monumental) color portrait of him at photographer Paul Heartfield's web site ( http://www.paulheartfield.com/ ).

Lyndon is going to vote this time around too. Ladies are advised to hold onto their hats.

Pumpkin will not be president of The United States. End of discussion.

I love the photo!

I don't know much about Trump. I think you should elect Bernie Sanders. If you don't, send him to the UK. We could use him here.

I just despise all demagogues and boy haven't we in Ireland had our share. The Rev. Ian Paisley for one

Thanks, Mark and Mike, for the best laugh I've had in weeks. In addition to the Rockwell/Mad connections, it's got a religious flavor, like a cathedral fresco by an Italian Renaissance Master; 'Adoration of the Trump' or something like that

One feature unnerves me though- it's the seeming disembodied arm reaching through the crowd, just to the right of the woman in the pink cap.

Best image of the '16 campaign? It's going to be hard to beat.

As an outsider, I think he is quite ok. Not president like (but does Ronald Reagan?) and not sure he can build a team ... But many attacks do not stick that much. He is right wing doing right wing thing. Like MT in UK, ...

Problem is the left wing ... Not sure about Harry Clinton at all. She cannot handle 2 phones and use private system on business thing on such a top level (hacking anyone) and no one stop her. No one.

You will be look very microscopically if trump there. But what is Clifton is there. Both are I have my way type.

Good luck; God bless America.

That is a great photo, and with all due respect with Kenneth Tanaka, it is about politics. Everything in the US seems to be.

One of the nice things about politics, is that it allows us to see the flaws of logic, the poor reasoning, and very often the lack of empathy and basic humanity in the people on the other side. Of course, our side and especially us personally, suffer none of those faults.

(No, I ain't no Trump supporter. But is is quite interesting to watch US politics from afar and to know that no matter who is elected, the biggest discernable change will be the name of the person in the White House. Not that they are any better where I live.)

Is there an explanation for that dismembered left arm in the front yet?

Love the picture, but of course, for those Trump lovers on here (as I've been reading in the comments section), it falls under the 'subtle bias' category. If the people in the picture constitute the average Trump supporter, well, whatever I feel about Trump, or that sociological section of the country, it doesn't negate the fact that those are his true supporters, does it?

What it does fall under, is the concept my journalist pals and I talk about all the time: i.e., if the media reports something accurately, and you just look bad in the report, maybe that's all on you? It isn't media bias to reveal a person doing bad things, and report on it accurately. The demonizing of the media by the right is one of the modern wonders of ages, considering that most media outlets are owned by right-wing republican conservatives, and almost none of them have the 'punch' they used to have during the Viet Nam era.

Politifact, one of the most unbiased services in the media, not that long ago, reported that republicans are caught in lies in the media, almost 3 to 1 to democrats. Hmmm...

I also have to chime in here and say that those that want people like Trump in office because he's a "businessman that can get things done", have absolutely no understanding of the constitution of the United State. Ditto for Ross Perot fanboys. The government is not a business, nor was it created to facilitate business or religion. The constitution was created to ensure the rights of the individual over group think. The reason it's a messy process, is because there are checks and balances in place that try to ensure that, because the framers understood that there would be points in the process where a majority might be able to push their ideology through, even tho it would be a counter to the freedom of the individual.

I feel sad that there's people that have so little understanding of the world, that they think solving problems in the United States would go better if we put an even stronger version, in office, of ideology that's been subtly working behind the scenes in ever way possible to transfer wealth to the richest. I pay taxes not to have the government facilitate corporations in turning me into slave labor, I pay to have them protect me from corporations. Almost every OSHA law, EEOC ruling, or any other protective law that has been passed, has been passed because in many cases, sometimes going on for decades, business has willfully followed the bottom line to the point of even killing their employees if it makes financial sense to do so.

Just thought that the name Ivor Tossell sounds almost made up, like "I want to sell". But I am obviously seeing patterns where none exist. :)

There are many horrendous people in this world but in my humble opinion this man is in the top ten. I am guilty of loving golf but his putting a golf course in Scotland as here ..

seemed to many on this side of the pond an pmple of a rich man bullying his way to success. Just my opinion of course.

A true wonder of a photo. Thanks for finding it, Mike. Thanks for shooting it, Mark.

I nearly rolled off the sofa laughing when I reached "weasel-fur toupée". And it got better after that.

Everyone please remember that this country manages to survive all its presidents.

A great photo that is well-served by careful inspection. I, too, wonder about the cropping. Do you think the comments would have been so partisan if you had shown the image only with your photographic "non-political" thoughts?

Oh, the blondness, the blondness.

It is indeed a great photo. In 6 months or less we will only dimly remember this nightmare expression of American democracy. Actually, perhaps it isn't a nightmare as he will have been rejected by the people, and he will have had to go back to building kitschy buildings. So, perhaps there is hope after all!

I am astonished by the size of his girth. It almost matches his ego. That is one potent picture.

As perfect a photo as I have ever seen. From the overall composition to the tiny details.
And the impact! No other photo has scared me as much as that since Psycho.

Reading Frank Petronio's comment made me go back and re-read Robert Roaldi's. Twice. Think I'll order the book.

Where is that arm coming from across the shoulder of the lady with the pink hat?

That is a truly wonderful photo in almost every face in it as you said Mike, but especially as I really dislike Trump. I don't find him as comical as other do though. He reminds me too much of Karadzic who was also a ridiculous bombastic nationalistic figure... until he got elected.

Steve Smith wrote: "I don't know much about Trump. I think you should elect Bernie Sanders..."

Steve, if Trump successfully purchases the nomination, and Sanders somehow manages to overcome Hillary (and Biden?), the US will elect Bernie.

There, I made a prediction. Everyone can look it up in the TOP archive a bit more than 14 months from now and make fun of me if it's wrong. :-)

There are really a lot of white people in that picture, aren't there?

That is a truly great photo.

The whole thought of Mr. Trump being elected president brings to mind a David Bowie song: "I'm afraid of Americans."

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