August 23, 2012 / 9:56 PM / 7 years ago

Photographer's blog: Hard to ignore… the teleprompter

A teleprompter obscures U.S. President Barack Obama as he speaks during a campaign event at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio August 21, 2012. Obama is on a two-day campaign trip to Ohio, Nevada and New York. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Teleprompters; as much as the audience, the image makers and even President Barack Obama himself may wish these devices were truly invisible, there are times when the teleprompter cannot be ignored.

For photographers, the teleprompter is most often seen as a nuisance, something that hinders their shot. With teleprompters to his left and right, Obama seemingly never looks directly ahead. His head shifts from side to side, at times giving the impression he is watching a tennis match as he delivers his remarks. Photographers naturally gravitate to the 45-degree angle in order to capture Obama looking down the barrel of the lens as he reads his speech. This usually works, assuming the teleprompter is composed out of the frame. Sometimes, the President is framed clearly through the teleprompter glass and can actually make a desirable image.

At a recent campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, the teleprompter appeared different. This rally was outside on a bright and sunny day and an opaque teleprompter was in place, not the transparent model we mostly see. As I moved around, I realized I could not see the President behind this teleprompter, and it caught my eye. Moving into just the right angle, I shot many frames until Obama’s head was completely obscured by the teleprompter, giving the impression that he and the teleprompter were somehow one. Obama’s light colored shirt added to the effect.

This image was not meant as any kind of an editorial statement, more just a light and different take on something that was in plain sight all along.

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