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11:28 AM on 10/24/2009
I tend to like photos of the Obamas, but in terms of a professional shot, I'm surprised at how poor it is. Sure, the family looks good--they usually do. But the composition of this shot is stunningly bad for someone of Annie's caliber.

--the background is awful--random and indifferent with awkward lines coming into the frame
--for a family photo, there is an odd gap between Obama/Sasha and Michelle/Malia. It almost looks like two images pasted together.
--Obama and Sasha both in bright whites together completely throw the balance--you can't look at this shot without gravitating to the two on the left instead of the family as a whole.
--Michele looks hunched while Malia looks awkwardly posed--she's not anchored to the chair visually and looks like she's floating, or about to plunge to the floor.

Maybe because it's posed. I've liked much more casual shots of the family than this one.
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12:04 PM on 10/24/2009
I don't think it's possible to take a bad photo of this beautiful family, but I tend to agree with the points you make.
02:17 PM on 10/24/2009
I am going to say that this was NOT the only shot taken - of course, we all know that! LOL!!

So for Sasha and Mr. President to be together, both in white, was probably not the only way they shot it!

I am going to say that Annie posed them in many ways, and then allowed the children to be "more casual" - as this is of course a VERY CASUAL pose!

Then, the Obamas picked this one - because as someone mentioned above, this is a VERY expressive smile of Mr. President's! It reaches to his eyes and beyond :-)

And this is the epitome of this family I think as well...casual, not caught up in all of the "stuff", unpretentious, and non-elite (differing opinions on this!) I guess they are the definition of elite - but not the way it is used most often...a negative connotation. They are rich and educated in powerful positions...but that isn't the way it is often used.

Just my observations as I do agree with what you are saying, but I think there are reasons for it.

PS...Remember the first Official Portrait of our First Lady? She had that weird background, too. Maybe the White House doesn't lend to a perfect background...or at least not one they want to use. After all, standing next to a portrait of a previous President wouldn't work since they are not modeled after them. I don't know...lots of "busy stuff" in there!
05:34 PM on 10/24/2009
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Bailey Reynolds
Gulf War vet, Recovering Republican
11:27 AM on 10/24/2009
Beautiful!
11:05 AM on 10/24/2009
Lovely.
10:54 AM on 10/24/2009
Nice portrait, but where's BO?
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isthatso
01:21 PM on 10/24/2009
Yes, isn't Bo part of the family??
09:29 AM on 10/26/2009
LoL! good one.
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bonofide
10:19 AM on 10/24/2009
Nicely done.
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mcbaby2
10:15 AM on 10/24/2009
Not crazy about the photo - sort of typical family portrait. What comes through , however, is Sasha's love for her father. There something about that girl that has a way of showing exactly what she is feeling.
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Bailey Reynolds
Gulf War vet, Recovering Republican
11:32 AM on 10/24/2009
Sasha is daddy's girl all the way! And she's always got a look of slight mischief about her... I think its cute.

Malia looks just like her mom.
10:04 AM on 10/24/2009
I love Annie's work, but where's the unexpected twist? I guess you can't get too "out there" with a presidential portrait.
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HotheadPaisen
Longform bio awaiting the Donald's approval.
10:08 AM on 10/24/2009
psssst... Black man in the WHite House... that's the twist...
03:09 PM on 10/24/2009
The photo is Black and White. The President and Sasha are dressed in strong Whites and Michelle and Malia are in mostly Black. It is a mixture of ordinary and extraordinary. That is it's brilliance. And that is this Presidency and our country. It is a Christmas portrait and is in the Green Room (of the White House) with mostly green and red in the background with the President's tie in red.

They are living and working in this White House with all of its mundainess, dark corriders, and history while being an extraordinary new generation. A shocking and wonderful newness. The shocking white and black. The ordinariness and wonderfulness of an affectionate family. It's a cool photo.

It is a non-arrogant picture with our first-family filled with affection for each other and "connected" to each other. It is Christmas portrait. A time of affection and giving.
01:02 PM on 10/24/2009
I agree - a portrait of this sort couldn't be too "out there". I don't know if you'd call it a twist but (i think) there are some subtle things at work here. I'm a photographer and my first thought was what a bad mistake to have two white outfits next to two much darker outfits, effectively it cleaves the photo in two - it's odd compositionally. With such a strong black/white contrast I couldn't help but be reminded of race relations (good and bad) and of the significance of a black family being in the White House.

The really nice touch though is Malia and Michelle holding hands - you don't notice it at first but it serves to unite the two halves and resolves the tension set up by the black/white metaphor. Well that was my experience anyway!
And WOW, the Obamas really are photogenic.
09:38 AM on 10/24/2009
The emotional responses to this very basic photo are quite disturbing. I mean judging form these posts I expect someone very soon to tell me that their cancer spontaneously cured itself just from looking at it. Get a life people.
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09:54 AM on 10/24/2009
jealous much? Maybe you should take some pride in having such a gorgeous, warm, smart, loving, authentic family to represent our nation.
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Dupree
Speaking Truth to Lies
02:53 PM on 10/24/2009
The problem is that being sarcastic and rude is the norm for your life. You can not even give yourself permission to appreciate a picture of a family that actually exudes ....family values. In a cultural that is growing increasingly mean and bitter that is filled with hate...I welcome the diversion and distraction to view a portrait of our First Family.

Perhaps YOU are the one that needs to get a life after all, you took out time to write a sarcastic post just to bring a negative element into what most people has generated warm and kind emotional expressions. YOU took out time to display bitterness and bewilderment that people had commented on this picture with positive energy and that in itself disturbed you. Perhaps if everyone was attacking the portrait and mocking the president and his family.....in your sad and pathetic world...it would have felt as the norm. What exactly does that states about YOU>
03:55 PM on 10/24/2009
What does it say about ME? It says that the dumbing down of America is something that offends me.
09:35 AM on 10/24/2009
The job of the photographer is to reveal something special about the subject and I think Annie did a
wonderful job here. Good composition.
08:50 AM on 10/24/2009
dont u mean escaped??

didnt annie get her cameras back frm bankruptcy??
08:36 AM on 10/24/2009
The Obama's look fabulous. The black and white balance with the green background is fabulous.

However, I am surprised that such a famous photographer would have included such a busy background: doorways, chairs, pictures, fireplace, mantle and ornate vase -- busy, busy!
09:32 AM on 10/24/2009
There's a background? Oh yeah. I didn't notice it.
08:21 AM on 10/24/2009
Delightful! We are truly blessed to have such excellent role models for families every where. I pray they continue to be strong and safe.
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db08
Embrace each moment, each day!
08:15 AM on 10/24/2009
thank you Annie, thank you Mr. and Mrs. President , and thank you Malia and Sasha...really beautiful in the photo and in spirit.
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oldwhitewomantoo
07:50 AM on 10/24/2009
They just make me smile . . . Thanks, HuffPost, for the pic!