For my analysis I chose the picture above of Republican candidate Ron Paul, which was taken off his official website ( There are many things in this photograph that stuck out to me immediately. First was the American flag in the background. This is portraying that Dr. Paul is a patriotic man and he is willing to stand up for our country. The suit and tie he is wearing makes him look intelligent and like he “means business.” This might portray him as a man who knows exactly what he is doing in the position of power. Even the background of his photograph can represent meaning. The light blue and white resembles a peaceful sky which could be representing peace here. Right now in America, we are looking for a candidate to offer us peace at this time of war and debts. We also need someone who knows what they are doing in a position of power and who “means business.” Could this photograph just be saying what America wants to hear?

Dr. Paul’s face, position, and smile also speak for this picture. This is a full-face photograph, which, according to Barthes, “underlines the realistic outlook of the candidate…” Barthes continues to analyze full-face photos by stating that “everything there expresses penetration, gravity, frankness: the future deputy is looking squarely at the enemy, the obstacle, the ‘problem’.” Paul is trying to portray to Americans that he knows the about problems in our country and he is ready to deal with them face on. No matter what problem the world can throw at him, he is ready to solve it in this photograph. His smile and facial expression is a welcoming one. He looks as if he sincerely wants to help anyone looking at this photo. Dr. Paul is seen, in this photo, as a happy and hopeful man, which is what this country needs right now. Just when many people are loosing hope due to many different circumstances, including the war, the national debt, etc, it’s refreshing to see such a hopeful man. By Paul being so hopeful, it makes others hopeful, which may be a reason one might have to vote for him.

This photograph is very positive to voters by portraying Ron Paul as a peaceful, hopeful, intelligent, business man. There is no doubt that every aspect of this picture (the American flag, peaceful sky background, hopeful smile, positive position, etc) was a strategic move on the photographers part.


About hsmithrose

Sophomore at University of Maine at Farmington majoring in Music Administration

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