“Reflection” by Bob Staake

01Jul11

I somehow missed this New Yorker cover 2 1/2 years ago when Barack Obama was elected president. I saw it for the first time this week, thanks to Julie Danielson of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Though embarrassed by my tunnel vision, I’m glad in a way that so much time has passed before my eyes landed on it.

The euphoria from that time has subsided but seeing this powerful illustration brought back those emotions in an instant. No matter what your politics are, it was a turning point in history and the good that it brought about in healing racial wounds can’t be denied. In my mind, this illustration sums that all up in a simple, sublime way. And it’s a beautiful piece of artwork.

Curiously, when I watched the video (which pans over the image in an artful way) I wasn’t moved nearly as much as when I saw it all in one take. If nothing else, the stillness of the image lends more impact than a movie ever can. It makes me believe there will always be a place for pictures that don’t move, make sounds or link us to another page, and that they can coexist with their more kinetic offspring.

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