The Collective Picture

Vintage Photography Redefined

admin On May - 29 - 2009

With the American elections behind us months of campaign trail coverage has been replaced by a fixation on something else, a White House dynasty in the making. The Obama craze that swept the U.S quickly spilled over international borders, leaching heavily into the soil of my own country, Canada. This marks a massive shift in U.S international relations from what occurred during the Bush years. Obama’s predecessor had such high disapproval ratings by the end of his tenure that many world leaders worked hard to be known as anything but in bed with Bush. Today Obama mania has left International leaders trying to snuggle up close to the new President. Where does this love and admiration stem from and what does it take for a leader to harvest it? I think the answer to this can be found in the timing of it all.

Obama family walks with First Dog Bo 4 14 09 A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraitsThe United States, as a relatively young nation, seems to have reached those turbulent years of adolescence. America, like all troubled teens, is in desperate need of some parental intervention. Defiant and rebellious it is a nation calling out for someone to wrangle it in. What better person to do this then a ‘cool dad figure’ someone who is going to demand change from the teen but in a way that constantly appears hip and fresh. This is exactly what America has gained in the White House a young, passionate, charismatic father figure that has stepped in to aid a wayward teen. Obama is that hip dad down the street that everyone on the block dreams of trading in his or her own parents for. Our collective ‘dad envy’ has swooned the world, and now we sit anxiously waiting for him to usher America back onto the path of becoming a responsible adult. From his campaign straight into his early days in office intrigue about this man and his family has continued to flourish, I think in part the ‘cool dad’ analogy helps to explain this fascination.

So how do images of the Obamas and our new American ‘dad’ compare with photographs of other White House families? Looking at the images collected here it is easy to see a correlation to another much adored Presidential Dynasty. Just like the Kennedy’s The Obama’s appear as a young passionate couple, with their adorable kids in tow they create an image of a beautiful family home. A nurturing space where even a troubled teen like America has a hope of redemption.

1864_Abraham_Lincoln_ and_son_Tad

Feb. 9, 1864. Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President, looking at a photo album with his son, Tad Lincoln. Photographed by Berger Anthony. President Lincoln visited the Brady Gallery in Washington, D.C., with his son Tad, on Tuesday, February 9, 1864. “One of the most popular Lincoln portraits, this is the only close-up of him wearing spectacles. It was issued in huge quantities in many variations, with and without Brady’s permission.” (Source: Ostendorf, p. 182). Published in: Lincoln’s photographs: a complete album / by Lloyd Ostendorf. Dayton, OH: Rockywood Press, 1998, p. 182-3. Brady National Photographic Art Gallery. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Abraham Lincoln, held Presidential Office 1861-1865.

1872 President Grant with wife and son 856x1024 A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits

c1872. President Grant at his cottage by the sea Ulysses Grant seated on porch with his wife, Julia, and son, Jesse. Copyright by G.W. Pach. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b36593

Ulysses S. Grant, held Presidential Office between 1869-1877.

1896 President Mckinley and wife A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits

c1896. President McKinley and Mrs. McKinley, full-length portrait, seated, facing front Group of people in front of house. . Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

William Mckinley, held Presidential Office between 1897-1901.

1911 Taft family 1024x698 A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits

June 18, c1911. Taft family and relatives laughing, silver anniversary. Robert Taft, Miss Herron, Horace Taft, Henry W. Taft, Charles Taft, Mrs. Charles Anderson (Jennie Herron), Mrs. William H. Taft, the President, Aunt Delia Torrey, and Mrs. Henry W. Taft. Copyright by B.M. Clinedinst, Washington, D.C.

William Howard Taft, held Presidential Office 1909-1913

1912 Woodrow Wilson wife and three daughters 1024x765 A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits

c1912. Woodrow Wilson, seated posed on swing on porch, facing front, with his wife and three daughters. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b42773

Woodrow Wilson, held Presidential Office between 1913-1921.

1952 Coolidge and Family 826x1024 A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits

December 30, 1925. Coolidge & family. Calvin Coolidge, v. 3, p. 23, Herbert E. French, National Photo Company. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a17892

Calvin Coolidge, held Presidential Office between 1923-1929.

HooverFamily A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits

1928 Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Hoover, seated. Standing, left to right, Herbert Hoover, Jr., his wife, and Allen Hoover. September, 1928, issue of Pictorial California,published by Eugene Swarzwald, 131 So. Olive, Los Angeles http://americahurrah.com/Hoover/HooverFamily.htm

Herbert Hoover, held Presidential Office between 1929-33

1931 Franklin Roosevelt and Family A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits

09/15/1931. Franklin D. Roosevelt and family in Hyde Park, New York. Library ID 58381. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.

Franklin D. Roosevelt held Presidential office 1933-1945.

1946 President Harry Truman with wife and daughter A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits

January 12, 1946. Family portrait of President Harry S. Truman, Bess Truman, and Margaret Truman. The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. http://www.trumanlibrary.org/

Harry S. Truman held Presidential Office 1945-1953

1961 Kennedy family A White House Dynasty: The Obamas and other Presidential Families.portraits09/29/1961. President Kennedy and family. President Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Caroline Kennedy. Newport, RI, Hammersmith Farm. John F. Kennedy Library (NLJFK), Columbia Point, Boston, MA,

John F. Kennedy, held Presidential Office between 1961-1963.

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