The Power of a Single Image

I meant to put up a post a couple of weeks ago, when I opened up my new issue of The New Yorker and saw the black-and-white portraits of men and women who’d volunteered to serve in the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pictures, made by New York photographer Platon, who is now a staff photographer for The New Yorker, are handsome, assertive, and intimate. They are really something special, and you can view the entire portfolio here.

I meant to put up a post a couple of weeks ago, when I opened up my new issue of The New Yorker and saw the black-and-white portraits of men and women who'd volunteered to serve in the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pictures, made by New York photographer Platon, who is now a staff photographer for The New Yorker, are handsome, assertive, and intimate. They are really something special, and you can view the entire portfolio here.
I got busy and didn't mention them on the blog, but then yesterday I read Maureen Dowd's column in the New York Times, in which she discusses former secretary of state Colin Powell's decision to make an endorsement in the presidential race. Powell noted, both to Dowd and on television talk shows, that it was one of Platon's images that convinced him to endorse Barack Obama.
As Dowd wrote:

But what sent him over the edge and made him realize he had to speak out was when he opened his New Yorker three weeks ago and saw a picture of a mother pressing her head against the gravestone of her son, a 20-year-old soldier who had been killed in Iraq. On the headstone were engraved his name, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, his awards — the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star — and a crescent and a star to denote his Islamic faith. "I stared at it for an hour,” he told me. “Who could debate that this kid lying in Arlington with Christian and Jewish and nondenominational buddies was not a fine American?"

Powell decided he'd had enough of derisive political campaigns that claimed to know which Americans are "pro-America" and which are not. It was one image that clarified his thinking.
I can predict that we will see some comments about this post, charging that I am interjecting politics into a blog that is supposed to be about photography. There is no doubt that politics is the subtext here, but this post is about photography. Please look at Platon's images, because they are beyond politics. No matter who you support in the election, you will be moved and made proud by these faces. Images-even one picture-can make a huge impact.-David Schonauer