Obama And Romney's Flickr-War For Your Love (And Vote)

With the election tomorrow, the Annotated White House Flickr Feed takes one last fond look at the campaign photos streaming out from Election 2012. Here to make sense of the images are The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox and Huffington Post political reporter Jason Linkins. This week’s important discoveries: The Romney team’s love affair with Instagram is flourishing; Paul Ryan may have a good reason for always wearing that windbreaker; if Barack’s going out, he’s going out his way; and meet Joe Biden, HUG MACHINE.

ANA MARIE: This looks really apocalyptic to me, for some reason.

JASON: Ahh, yes, Red Rocks, where the white people would more typically be found seeing Dave Matthews.

ANA MARIE: They did some serious Hipstamaticking or Instawhatevering to these. YET THEY ARE STILL OUT OF FOCUS.

JASON: Definitely point the camera right into the light source. I tell you what, the Romney campaign is a fundamental rejection of the Pete Souza administration.

ANA MARIE Grainy, fake-old and out of focus. There are so many metaphors for the Romney campaign available here.

ANA MARIE: And then, after some attempts to make pictures that don’t hurt the eyes, we’re back to the patented Romney Crowd Shots, otherwise known as Visual Ambien.

JASON: The Red Rocks shot was at least impressive. Huge crowd, verging on, you know… DECEMBERISTS level. Now we just have the backs of people’s heads in a gym. And who is that talking? That might just be one of the people in the crowd, commandeering the stage to make sure the pizza order is correct.

ANA MARIE: I bet the favorite pizza of a Romney crowd is cheese.

ANA MARIE: Look, more back-of-peoples-heads. It’s harder to tell exactly how white they are from the back, I guess?

JASON: “Pennsylvanians stand in front of random wall.”

JASON: There’s a lot of code-switching going on in that picture.

ANA MARIE: I dunno, I thought Village of the Damned, kinda.


JASON: I actually wonder if that is a shot of some dad, showing off his son’s “Romney supporter” costume. “Isn’t this hilarious! He’s like a post-modern Alex P. Keaton! (Drink your lattes, kids, before they get cold.)”

ANA MARIE: I think they’re probably homeschooled and they don’t realize that somewhere there’s a whole high-school dance filled with girls going as “sexy unicorns” or something.

ANA MARIE: I can’t believe how many shots of the backs of people’s heads there are in the world.

JASON: It’s too bad that the Romney photographer isn’t taking advantage of the “backs of people’s heads” tag, because who knows how many voters they’d reach.

JASON: This is another one of those shots that looks like a weird photocollage. Why is EVERYTHING IN THE SHOT POPPING?

ANA MARIE: Over-saturated and undecipherable. I’m voting for the blur!

JASON: I really like what the guy standing dead center on the stage whose head looks like it is about to go supernova is saying about a “real recovery.”

ANA MARIE: I would like to point out that it wouldn’t be in the Romney Flickr stream if it didn’t also contain a healthy representation of the backs of people’s heads.

JASON: No, that is… unavoidable at this point.

ANA MARIE: And, oh God, I’m sorry, but honestly I saw this and the first thing I thought was “trucknutz.”


ANA MARIE: OH, AND BACKS OF HEADS! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU’RE TAKING A PICTURE *FROM THE STAGE*??? I mean, it’s not just the Secret Service people. I guess maybe Romney’s Making an Entrance.

JASON: These past two pictures, I do not even know what time of day the shots were taken. The daylight shot looks drenched in flash, somehow. This shot, I can’t tell if it’s day or night. This is like a guy who wants to do ALL THE STUFF in Instagram. They have a light flare, a filter, a tilt shift aimed at nothing in particular…

ANA MARIE: ALL THE FILTERS, all of them. But there is no filter for Souza.

JASON: “This photo was taken on October 12, 2012 in Whites, Lancaster, OH, US.” Now THAT I believe.

ANA MARIE: Seriously, now. How long can we go on, cataloging the fact that the Romney Flickr stream is just PACKED with pictures of the backs of people’s heads?

JASON: Well, at least in this one, they have a big building to randomly shoot. But again, what it the POINT OF THIS PHOTO? Some people talked, and there were other people—here they are from the neck up. And wow, look at this building! It’s neat to see buildings! Meanwhile the only way I can tell that is Romney talking is because I know that’s Paul Ryan standing next to him, and I know that’s Paul Ryan because he is wearing the ONE GODDAMNED WINDBREAKER HE OWNS, and now, I guess I know why he wears that—so people recognize him in these photographs!

JASON: So, here’s one possibility, folks. America’s comeback team. Romney looking one way, Ryan looking the other. Still don’t know, actually, if they see eye to eye on everything.

ANA MARIE: The world’s unhappiest conjoined twins.

JASON: Hey, Paul, if you lose, you get to go back to being yourself again… so upside!

ANA MARIE: Paul, in his head: “Can finally take off this fucking windbreaker and get back to work on my abs.” Okay, on to the Organizing For America Feed!

ANA MARIE: And with the first one we are confronted with the sad reality that OFA chose to use some of its precious campaign funds to hire a professional photographer. I mean, i don’t know who else looks at these things with the level of scrutiny that we do, but I am flattered that OFA thought of my needs. Maybe Ohio has more amateur photographers than you’d think?

JASON: Yeah, okay. Devil’s advocate. Maybe all the terrible Romney campaign photos that look like they were taken by UFO cranks represents a very thrifty, cost-effective approach.

ANA MARIE: I mean, yes, the LIGHTS IN THE SKY! aesthetic sort of fits in with the Romney campaign as a whole as well.

JASON: I think if Joe Biden hadn’t gotten into politics, he would have been an awesome UFO chaser.

ANA MARIE: And could have taken photos for the Romney campaign. JOB CREATED.

JASON: That is what is happening right now in the “Fringe” universe.

ANA MARIE: And okay, let’s accept that the OFA stream has photos that include the backs of people’s heads too. But I would also point out that the guy on the stage is in focus, and is also one of the men running for national office.

JASON: Yes, this is shooting backs of heads correctly. My eyes are not drawn to the bald spots of white dudes. (Which is all the better for Joe Biden, when you think about it.)

ANA MARIE: Have we spent enough time with Biden, doing these? I don’t think so. He is the most emotional politician this side of Chris Christie. He’s the guy with the “free hugs” sign, always, in his eyes.

JASON: Yeah. I think that there are only a few politicians that genuinely like campaigning this long, and still go out looking forward to doing more. Biden is one, and Clinton is another.

ANA MARIE: And Biden is just ferociously un-self-aware. YOU, HEY OUT THE WINDOW, YOU! AND YOU!


JASON: Biden realizes that the campaign trail is the parallel universe where people are dying to meet him.

ANA MARIE: See, I think he thinks that all the time. I think he sits in the old executive office building all day, hitting refresh on Facebook, “poking” people. And GIDDY about it! (No one tells him he’s not actually connected to the internet.)

ANA MARIE: Back at Wonkette, we relied on baby-eating jokes for pictures like this but I’m worried what Fox might do with that.

JASON: “Obama indoctrinates another young patriot! (P.S. BUY GOLD, and also CATHETERS.)” would be my guess.

ANA MARIE: WTF all the catheter commercials on Fox, right? What they need is GOLD CATHETERS.

JASON: You notice how this picture is not the over-saturated, tilt-shifted, can’t tell what time of day or what planet it is type of nonsense we saw from the Romney feed?


JASON: We made so much fun of Souza. My God, we were foolish fools.

JASON: Okay… what is this though?


JASON: Another indie rock album cover… but whose?

ANA MARIE: Oh, I’m thinking Ted Leo, but black and white.

JASON: Oh, that’s great! I can’t wait to tell him!

ANA MARIE: He is on Twitter. And I think reads The Awl. HI, TED!

JASON: We love you, Ted!

ANA MARIE: Here is Obama being someone who does not talk about trees being the right height.

JASON: Here is Obama being someone who thinks he’ll be sticking around. If he’s going out, he’s going out as optimistically as he can.

ANA MARIE: Trying to avoid something about swagge… but hey, swagger. I have almost forgotten about the mom pants. This is the guy Jay-Z wants to get a call from.

JASON: Yep. Of course, this is also the guy David Brooks wants to get a call from. (But don’t do it, Barry!)

ANA MARIE: Adorable glasses. I hope she runs for president someday.

JASON: You know, I don’t know if Obama is going to win or lose. But if that kid becomes President, she’ll never have to go through all the shit Obama went through. Between birther nonsense and nose-bones and John Sununu and the fact that he’s GOT TO BE the one guy in the world who can cap Osama bin Laden’s ass and have the more martial faction of the nation totally dismiss it as a hot load of nothing, and still say shit like he “sympathizes with the attackers in Benghazi.” Obama took a lot of shots, so that the Presidents of the future—if we get to have a future—won’t have to.

ANA MARIE: Well, you totally just undermined my Urkel joke. Thanks.

Previously: Obama And Romney Turn To Instagram In Battle of White House Photo Worthiness