I’m in the middle of writing an article about a particular legislative push by U.S. Representative Sue Myrick. It’s a serious issue, and yet, I’ve found myself distracted by the very odd photo gallery on Myrick’s official congressional website.
This distraction deals with style, rather than legislative substance, but it’s unnerving enough to me that I suspect I’m not the only one given pause. I need to get this out of my system, and so I’d like to offer some friendly help to Representative Myrick’s aides: Please learn to use Photoshop.
Searching through Representative Myrick’s site for a recent photograph of her activities, I came across a gallery with the following shot of Myrick standing with the Mayor of Weddington, Nancy Anderson. In thumbnail form, the photo appears fairly ordinary, but as we get closer…
… we see that Representative Myrick is struggling to keep her face out of a grimace, and Mayor Anderson appears to be in a strange sweaty trance state, her eyes glassy, her skin glossy. That’s bad enough, but the photograph turns out to be hi resolution, and so if we click on it, we are treated to the following detail:
Every wrinkle, every line of sweat, every hair coming out of the cheek comes into focus. And then, on the side, we’re treated to the odd sight of a man wearing a t-shirt with the letters BS, holding a wad of cash, with a bit of his belly hanging out over his belt.
Why is this man’s cash and belly included in the photograph? Why are Sue Myrick and Nancy Anderson shown at unflattering close-up range? Why is this photograph, with its bizarre facial expressions, included at all?
It’s not the job of a member of the U.S. Congress to look beautiful. However, it is part of the job of congressional staff to create media showing their boss at work in a way that is not completely hideous.
Yes, show us photographs that are more than tiny shots where we can barely see the Representative. No, we don’t need an original size photograph that blows up to poster size on a computer screen.
Yes, it’s informative to see the people members of Congress are meeting with. No, we don’t need to see people who happen to be in the background, acting awkwardly natural.
Yes, multiple photographs with different subjects are handy. No, we shouldn’t see every photograph that was taken, no matter how unflattering.
Congressional aides, don’t make a photo gallery that makes your boss and your boss’s allies look like freaks. Learn to use a digital camera to take a lot of pictures. Select the best. Use Photoshop. Crop. Scale. I don’t particularly like Sue Myrick’s politics, but damn it, she deserves better than to have pictures like this posted on her own web site.