Friday, September 25, 2009

Michelle Rhee-interpreted

In January of this Year, Time Magazine ran a cover shoot I did with DC School Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Photo editor Dietmar Liz-Lepiorz proposed the idea of her holding a broom. I thought it would be a powerful statement to show her cleaning up the system. Well, the DC teachers took it personal, claiming the broom symbolized her sweeping them out, even deeming her a witch. The cover became fuel for the teachers' fire, as seen on PBS (see May blog post).

This coming Sunday, The Washington Post Magazine attempts to reinterpret the images with a cover story on Michelle Rhee including a gallery of images, many that were originally shot but not used for the Time story.

Writer Marc Fisher in the Post story writes:
We are back to the broom, because for all the control and all her pride about her straight talk, Rhee was surprised, even hurt, by the reaction to that photo. "It was not what I was expecting. I was surprised by how other people saw it -- me being a witch, which I don't get. I personally thought it sent the right message -- sweeping change and cleaning house."
I'm still in awe at how much impact this singular image had on her reputation. The American Federation of Teachers also called me this week, asking if they could use the broom image for a flyer for their rally. I had to say no. I'm not about vilifying an advocate who puts no one but children first. The teachers are desperate to use my image for their cause, and I'm on the other end of the rope tugging to not let go of the integrity and original intentions behind the image making.

Thrilled that my yawner finally made the cut.

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