Gurney Journey: Obamas’ White House Portrait

The Obama Basis developed this powering-the-scenes online video of Robert McCurdy and Sharon Sprung portray the official White Property portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama. (Hyperlink to YouTube)

Mr. Obama’s portrait reveals him in a dim go well with from a white history.

The emptiness of the qualifications removes him from context and focuses the viewer on his expression and posture, for the reason that there is certainly practically nothing else to seem at. 

White backgrounds can propose a lot of points: the up to date gallery wall, the unwritten webpage, the mysterious, luminous void. What a white qualifications won’t suggest is wealth, heritage, electrical power, standing, or cultural milieu—all the standard trappings of official portraiture of a previous head of point out. 

It’s possible this sort of associations have been difficult in the scenario of Mr. Obama, and the artist designed the most effective choice, I never know. 

The thought of the white background isn’t new. Photographer Richard Avedon presented many of his topics towards a white seamless. In Avedon’s circumstance it typically had a leveling influence, chopping by normal distinctions of status or electrical power and producing everyone equivalent. It could even have a clinical flavor that produced the viewer look at the way the subject presented himself or herself. 

When director Alfred Hitchcock created the praying gesture versus a field of pure white, one wonders why he presents himself that way, and how sincere he is.

When painter James Bama utilized the white history for his portraits of Western people, he invited us to examine the aspects of their facial area and costume, and from those clues to question about the character of their doing work lifestyle.


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