Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Unflattering Photos in Hillary Book Jackets

Has anyone noticed the similarity between the two photos of Hillary on the competing book jackets of the new autobiographies? Both feature a stern Hillary in profile, in Bernstein's, A Woman in Charge, she's looking off to the right, a slight bemused smile on her lips, wrinkles showing on her neck, in the more outrightly negative book by Gerth and Natta Jr., Her Way, the Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the book jacket photo of Hillary is an extreme close-up, every pore and wrinkle showing, she isn't smiling, she looks pale, especially against the black background. You can see that she is wearing lipstick and eye shadow, it's so close-up, but the photo is purposefully unflattering, unfeminine.

Contrast these book jackets to the one of Hillary's own autobiography, Living History, where the camera is a few steps back, she is facing the viewer directly, smiling an open-mouth smile, the light dancing across her face, the background a soft gray. She looks beautiful and welcoming, someone you could easily sit down to lunch with, not foreboding and stiff as in the other two book jackets.

It would be interesting to compare the book jackets of Hillary's biographies to that of other presidential candidates, but, oh my, there are no other biographies of the male candidates, let alone two competing ones. It's the fact that she is a woman, a powerful one, nonetheless, that makes her a prime target for male writers to attempt to write her story, even though she has already told it in her own autobiography.

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