The most concerning aspect in regards the retouching of history is the aesthetic privileging that Reagan receives.
Reagan is placed on the left, the first to be seen when reading the banner, left to right. By centralising Reagan, the size of his interpreter adds to Reagan's size, whereas the opposite occurs for Gorbachev with his interpreter crouching behind. Reagan dominates the middle rather than dominating the side. He is facing the banner, which implies that he is engaged whilst Gorbachev is 'looking' out. Reagan is also facing the larger space comparative to Gorbachev.
The visual balance works better, because it is a banner that privileges the West. It won't 'look' right to a Western audience if Gorbachev were to take that small, though significant middle space. Ask any newspaper editor or stage director, front and centre is where the most important focus is. My reading is but one interpretation of the image and the editing. This highlights the importance of images in international relations and particularly the rise of photoshop.
Reader riposte: Still more on Reagan and Gorby
Published 19 Mar 2013 12:49 0 Comments