For the first Analyze This!!! assignment, we would like you to investigate contemporary election photographs. Seek out campaign photographs of one of the current candidates for President (Obama, Santorum, Perry, Romney, Paul, Gingrich, or, even though she has officially dropped out of the race, Michelle Bachmann, whose  campaign website is still available). Choose one photograph for your analysis.  Using Roland Barthes’s observations in “Photography and Electoral Appeal” as a guideline (and you may wish to quote from the essay as well), provide a brief analysis of that photograph as part of your blog entry. You may wish to include the photograph or include a link to it as part of your post.

For another approach to this assignment, you might focus your analysis on a campaign song or on a video advertisement rather than a photograph, although still using Barthes’s observations to guide the analysis.

Your blog entry should be posted before Monday ’s class (January 23). Your analysis should be in the 400-500 word range.

Please note: Focus on photographs that have some official and legitimate source. As we all know, there’s a lot of really trashy stuff to be found on the internet, much of it of dubious authenticity, and some of it obviously photoshopped. Let’s start with official campaign materials as the basis for the analysis.


About Michael K. Johnson

Michael Johnson is Professor of English at the University of Maine at Farmington.

One response »

  1. bettyb777 says:

    I chose to use the campaign song by Ron Paul. The choice to use the darker theme song of the Star Wars saga, the “Imperial march”, shows that Ron Paul wants to stand out among the rest of his candidates. His choice shows us that he is certainly not conventional with his campaigning, and neither is he optimistic. Ron Paul and his army of followers indeed want to break an inequitable system, desiring radical changes. His approach to dealing with this country’s fragile issues expresses rebellion but also courage, promoting himself as an elite force in this presidential campaign. His ideas are different, but they are profound and unique just like the classic Spielberg films. Even Ron Paul declared that he and his supporters are “dangerous”. With this particular star wars theme song being a war anthem, I think it’s appropriate that Paul wanted it as a campaign anthem, designed to evoke inspiration and determination within the crowd. It shows us that not only are his supporters very devoted, but focused and motivated just as soldiers are at wartime. They want to celebrate their “war” against the aggression of our government and rightfully so.

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