Love it or hate it, Donald Trump’s salute to America was clearly a spectacle, one that provided for ample excellent photo opportunities. Which makes it completely perplexing is that the only photos the president chose to share of the event for more than two days after were grainy cell phone photos.
Even more perplexing was the number of commenters that thought the photos were awesome. Have our standards sunk so low?
The photos in question were a retweet of conservative commentator Eric Bolling, who credited the photos to a “B Tessler.” You can see this Tesslers handiwork below:
While it’s not clear who “B Tessler” is, one possibility is Lenard B. Tessler, Vice chairman of Cerberus Capital Management Group and definitely not a photographer.
Judging by the responses to the retweet, when you filter out the political objections, most casual viewers thought the photos were actually good, and that’s scary. We’re in an age where “good enough” is fine for most people, including the White House. It’s an age where, if you can’t get a fast aperture lens on an actual camera, then portrait mode is good enough. When confronted with actual better quality options (Betamax versus VHS, CD versus MP3 or smartphone versus cameras), it seems that convenience has always trumped quality, and for us photographers, that’s a troubling thing indeed.
Because it means the next time the White House needs photos, they’ll just crowdsource sloppy cell phone pictures instead of hiring a real-deal professional photographer. It’s the continuing theme of this White House not caring about photographs, a surprise given how much showmanship went into this event and photo opportunity.
Trump did eventually retweet out an actual nicely done professional photo (without credit) that was posted by deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley:
But by July 7, three days after the event, does anyone care? Any other social media manager would likely be fired over the sloth-like pace of photo-posting here, as anyone knows that getting images out soon after an event is paramount. Every college sporting event I shoot required a gallery to be ready 30 minutes after the end of the game, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for this White House, nor does it seem the public even notices or cares.
In case you are looking for actual professional photos of the event, The White House did post some professional photos on its Flickr feed. Significantly less people saw them there than on Twitter, but if you’re looking to drop an “awesome” comment on a photo of the event, it’s much more worth it on these ones.