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Out of the Darkroom
Shutterbugs Focus on Politicians' Families and Friends


It has been said that the American public supports politicians because of their personalities. Thus, it is critical that the public get the correct image of them. In order to present the complete picture of politicians, it is important to include both their private as well as public lives. Everyone is immediately aware of the public politician who shakes hands with constituents, gives speeches, or greets party workers. But there is also the private politician who grabs time with the family, encourages the staff, or collapses at the end of the day. To preserve vignettes of their personal lives, most politicians rely on the camera.

To avoid routine pictures, it is important for the photographer to follow the politician behind the scenes. Constituents want to know about a politician's spouse or children. Certainly, the value of a good page-one photo of a political family is inestimable. In "people photography," though, one rarely gets a second chance to make a good first impression.

Elective office has never been considered a great boon to family life. Many politicians admit that having a family as well as a political life is nearly impossible. Indeed, in a recent national campaign, a writer for the National Journal observed: "Politicians are quick to champion families - but slower to get home at night. Families first, their motto might go - but only if they don't get in the way of their work." Nevertheless, re-election depends on good media coverage and one hundred percent family participation. Spouses, children, grandchildren, and even pets share center stage with "their" candidate during a campaign.

 This exhibit examines the personal lives of some of the politicians whose collections are housed in the Archives. Take a few minutes and "turn" through this sampling of the display of the Center's family photo album.


Copyright © 2007 Carl Albert Center at the University of Oklahoma
Last Modified 06/20/07
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