April 19, 2017

"I’m not going to look foolish for you. I’m not going to gesture in some way that you’re going to capture that’s going to make me look foolish or awkward.”

“I’m not going to be portrayed this way by the left-wing media. I’m not going to let the left-wing media frame me in some way that is going to be damaging to me."

What Michele Bachmann said, as remembered/paraphrased by Chris Buck, the photographer of the 2011 Newsweek cover that came to be known as "Crazy Eyes."



Buck comments:
I was shocked, because one, it’s amazing for someone just to speak their mind so directly, but two, we had really just begun. And I was asking for something pretty standard, you know? Not to say that she has to do everything I say, but there are other ways to deflect or refigure something without directly accusing me and my client of trying to disparage her.
He was — as he tells it — asking her to "relax, and maybe even if you want to gesture a little bit, we can even talk so you can be more relaxed," so he could get something "more animated with more life."

The interview is from 2011, but it's only getting published now, the occasion being a new book of Buck's photographs, "Uneasy: Portraits 1986-2016." (Buck sent me a copy of the book, but I haven't got it yet.)

63 comments:

traditionalguy said...

What was the matter with the pic? Does she look too male in her glaring persona?

And what's more she gave orders to the author!!!

Unknown said...

Wasn't this one of the clear hit pieces on a conservative that the so called "neutral" media is famous for?

And off topic, maybe, but has Althouse commented on the Fresno racist shooting thing? I've looked but not seen any mention of it here or in the comments. Perhaps I missed it--I wouldn't be surprised?

--Vance

Michael K said...

"has Althouse commented on the Fresno racist shooting thing? "

They are still looking for Amish co-conspirators.

Kate said...

So, he chose this photo because she asked for it?

lgv said...

She's beautiful. She's BSC.

She was right to be paranoid about the photos, because even if the cover was innocuous, the weird shots would eventually come out. We have 100's of awful Hillary shots out there on the web. Drudge was leading the charge on those.

Psota said...

The photo isn't even the worst part.

Newsweek called her the "Queen of Rage!"

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Buck comments:
I was shocked, because one, it’s amazing for someone just to speak their mind so directly...

Mr. Buck needs to get out more.

Todd said...

So the new rule is, if you want me on the cover, I get to select/submit the photo and you must run it unedited (as presented) , or not at all.

Jason said...

Look at the crap lighting they used in that photo. And it's not just that photo. Look at what the glossies did to John McCain, Bannon, Trump, Coulter, etc. The list goes on!



Meanwhile, every cover photo of Chelsea is a candidate for a Nobel Prize for Achievement in Photoshop.

They probably hire out the art staff from Maxim.

Unknown said...

I can understand her concern, I'd rather have a root canal than have my picture taken

Martin said...

Mostly shows how naive Bachmann was. The person with the last edit gets the last word. Always.

She knew Newsweek would make her look bad. It didn't matter what Buck thought, there would be plenty of material, photos and text, to do that once it went to the ditors and art department (remember Time darkening OJ's face for its cover?).

The only way to avoid it is to not do the interview, and even then you'll get criticized for being afraid to have them interview you.

Nonapod said...

As difficult as it is to take a flattering picture of someone, it's conversely just as easy to take unflattering pictures of people. For example, when your face is transitioning from one expression to another it can look especially goofy. If you're dealing with a photographer who politically disagrees with or just straight up hates their subject, it's obviously not to difficult for them to capture some unflattering moments no matter how careful the subject thinks they're being.

Virgil Hilts said...

Michelle Bachman was horrible for the tea party movement and the Republican party.
Jon Stewart (with therapy intervention by Jerry Seinfeld) talking about Michelle Bachman and her husband is still one of the funniest things I have even seen.
http://www.funnyordie.com/articles/681ee05811/seinfeld-helps-jon-stewart-pray-the-gay-jokes-away

tim in vermont said...

I was shocked, because one, it’s amazing for someone just to speak their mind so directly,

There is a quote attributed to Mao that he preferred to deal with conservatives than leftists, because, at least they said what they wanted.

Saint Croix said...

I like his Dennis Hopper

but I wouldn't like it if I was running for office!

Gahrie said...

but there are other ways to deflect or refigure something without directly accusing me and my client of trying to disparage her.

Given the picture that was used, it seems to me that she was justified in her accusation.

Saint Croix said...

One of the cooler photos of Donald Trump I have seen.

Saint Croix said...

His Bush photograph is excellent.

His Buckley photograph is awful!

Saint Croix said...

William Shatner is awesome!

Unless you're running for office.

Rick said...

but there are other ways to deflect or refigure something without directly accusing me and my client of trying to disparage her.

So to sum up:

He narrates that she's paranoid and inappropriate even as we're looking at proof she was absolutely correct. These people just can't understand reality.

Saint Croix said...

Eric Lindros kicks ass.

I suspect some of these people had photo approval! And some did not.

MikeR said...

Sounds like a mugger complaining about how nervous and impolite his victims are.

Bob Boyd said...

"I’m not going to let the left-wing media frame me in some way that is going to be damaging to me."

Obviously she was right to be concerned.
But then she turns around and eats a foot long corn-dog in public.

http://static4.businessinsider.com/image/4e49467fecad04747a000009/michele-bachmann-corndog.jpg

Matthew Sablan said...

At least she never went full "I am not a witch." That was probably the weirdest election I've seen in a long time.

Saint Croix said...

And I love his

Andy Samberg

Louis C.K.

and Harold Ramis.

these are fun and cool!

he should do Sarah Palin

on a bike

with a gun

Rick said...

And off topic, maybe, but has Althouse commented on the Fresno racist shooting thing?
--Vance


The interesting blog point - to me - is the AP and much other media obscuring his motivation by reporting he yelled "God is Great" instead of "Allahu Akbar".

Unknown said...

I think the interesting thing is how we had to destroy all Confederate imagery after Dylan Roof, but the exact same thing from a black racist Muslim is swept under the rug. By rights we should be able to demand the destruction of leftist stuff all over, shouldn't we?

--Vance

CStanley said...

While I still suspect that Mr. Buck intentionally discarded more flattering shots for this one, this story does explain how this one ended up in the mix. It sounds as though Bachman made the type of error one makes when trying too hard. She thought she'd avoid awkward gestural shots but when she tried to give him a carefully controlled visage she overdid the intensity of her gaze,

Saint Croix said...

I love his Philip Seymour Hoffman

Very good photograph of Ted Cruz

And Gillian Anderson!



Ron Winkleheimer said...

For example, when your face is transitioning from one expression to another it can look especially goofy.

Simply pausing your TV shows that.

Brando said...

That cover does look pretty bad--she looks like she's surprised by something. Presumably the photographer could have used a shot where her eyes weren't so wide open and had a more relaxed look.

Brando said...

"While I still suspect that Mr. Buck intentionally discarded more flattering shots for this one, this story does explain how this one ended up in the mix. It sounds as though Bachman made the type of error one makes when trying too hard. She thought she'd avoid awkward gestural shots but when she tried to give him a carefully controlled visage she overdid the intensity of her gaze,"

That could be, too. I know the magazine usually has editorial control over which shots they use, but it would make people more likely to agree to have their photos taken (compared to just sending their own shots for the magazine to decide whether to use) if they collaborated more, and agreed on shots that weren't so unflattering.

That's not the first time I saw a shot of Bachmann looking like that, so it might be a common problem where she tries too hard to pose and it makes her look surprised rather than confident. She's otherwise attractive so it should have been something she could have worked out.

tim in vermont said...

Reminds me of what the Curtis Martin said that the murderer of his grandmother said when she told him to take anything, just leave. He reportedly said "Look, I have to kill you before I leave, so just shut up and leave me alone."

CStanley said...

@Brando- as a woman of similar age to Bachman, and noticing that she shares the same "hooded" eyelid trait that I have, I think there's a tendency to open the eyes wider for photos to avoid a droopy look. Generally, almost but not quite unconsciously, what happens is you open extra wide and then relax a bit in order to have have fully opened eyes when the photo is snapped. Now perhaps this is exactly the wrong thing to do (I certainly have no training in modeling) but I think a professional portrait photographer would consider it a throwaway shot if he snapped while the subject was "prepping" in that way, just as he would discard one where he caught a blink.

Bill Peschel said...

It's getting to the point where the subject not only has to demand cover approval, but stand there in the studio and page through the shots, demanding which ones be immediately deleted.

And then, because you can't trust fuckers like Buck and the media, you have them download it from his camera to your computer, and you take the computer and his camera's chip away, because they'll undelete the photos after you leave.

Either that, or you send the magazine a photo and tell them to run it, as-is.

Basil Duke said...

I've seen various photographs of Ms. Bachman which aroused me. She is definitely a viable, albeit post-menopausal, sex partner. Not saying she could bring the entire box of saltines into the sack, but I'd certainly allow a single sleeve. However, the Newsweek cover frightened me. Ms. Bachman looked latently insane, like a grenade whose pin is already seven-eighths pulled. I could easily see her calling me and, in a demented, falsetto voice, alternately threaten me with violence for dumping her and try to seduce me back. No thanks! I will state for the record, though, that Ms. Bachman's concerns that that Buck fuck would do a number on her were entirely rational - as the photo itself proves. I wish Ms. Bachman nothing but the best moving forward.

Titus said...

The picture is amazing.

The video of her husband and he dancing is priceless.

What happened to that crazy bitch? She was fun.

Darrell said...

Limbaugh used to tall a story about when Time was doing a cover piece on him and sent around a name photographer to do the pictures. At the end of the session, the photographer asked Limbaugh to make various faces and Limbaugh said he'd pass. Then the photog told him that it was his signature and told him all the celebrities that had done it, so Limbaugh agreed. He also got a signed agreement with Time that he would select the pictures that could be used--and only those pictures--and they made him agree to a minimum number, so that they could have some choice. A few days later Time called him and told him they were moving his issue up and that the deadline was going to be that afternoon--and Limbaugh asked to get the photos to select and guaranteed that they would have them back in an hour or so. After a lot of hemming and hawing, they said fine and Limbaugh had already dispatched a crew member to pick them up. Limbaugh went through the contact sheets during a break and only "X'd" out something like 20 pictures out of couple hundred (only eight were going to be used), and sent that crew member back to Time to hand deliver it to the editor, well before the 1PM selection deadline they had agreed upon (something like 12:15). The issue deadline was something like 2PM. Limbaugh had made photocopies of the contact sheets with his deletions for his files. Well the issue comes out and what does Limbaugh see? They used something like 4 of his crossed out photos in the eight--including a couple that he described as the ugliest photos he had ever seen from the "making faces" portion of the shoot. When he called the editors, they gave him BS about it already being too late when they first spoke.

Yancey Ward said...

Snapshots are just that- snapshots of frozen action. Our brains are wired for paying attention to and noting continuously changing facial expressions of real life, not the fleeting transitions between them.

You want to know what happened in that Bachmann cover session? He was taking multiple snaps per second and it was being done with two purposes in mind, though he denies one of them apparently. He wanted a lot of photos to chose from, with either himself doing the choosing or cover editor of Newsweek. Of course, given the politics involved, whoever chose the actual cover snapshot wanted to pick an unflattering one, and I suspect the photographer knew that and was perfectly happy with it, too.

Bachmann's eyes look weird to us because she was not looking into the camera or just off center left or right- but looking up above the aperture a significant amount. It is even likely the photographer told her to do this.

And don't get me started on the lighting used here.

Darrell said...

After that, Limbaugh insisted on always supplying photos himself, using a professional photographer of his choice. He would pay for those expenses. If they didn't agree in advance, he wouldn't co-operate.

Darrell said...

His picture of Titus and a bag of dicks is fabulous!

Brando said...

"@Brando- as a woman of similar age to Bachman, and noticing that she shares the same "hooded" eyelid trait that I have, I think there's a tendency to open the eyes wider for photos to avoid a droopy look. Generally, almost but not quite unconsciously, what happens is you open extra wide and then relax a bit in order to have have fully opened eyes when the photo is snapped. Now perhaps this is exactly the wrong thing to do (I certainly have no training in modeling) but I think a professional portrait photographer would consider it a throwaway shot if he snapped while the subject was "prepping" in that way, just as he would discard one where he caught a blink."

Things like this can happen--the new standard practice should be to have your own photographer take shots you can provide to the periodical, or if you are using their photographer, get a written agreement to have final say over what shots they use.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Not to say that she has to do everything I say, but there are other ways to deflect or refigure something without directly accusing me and my client of trying to disparage her.

Yeah, whyever would she think that? Wherever would she get the idea that you or your client might be motivated to disparage her in some way?

He's right, of course. There ARE other ways to deflect and clearly Bachmann didn't say the right thing in the right way. A terrible breach of protocol, an awful lack of correct manners, a truly deplorable failure of nuance, subtlety, and courtliness. On the basis of that exchange Bachmann definitely deserved to be treated poorly--imagine a Republican politician speaking that way to a member of the Media! What can you expect, though, from one of THOSE people?


Hey, ya'll want any of that "context" I always hear so much about?
The Atlantic: About That McCain Photo
Greenberg also crowed that she had tricked McCain into standing over a strobe light placed on the floor - turning the septuagenarian's face into a horror show of shadows.
Asking McCain to 'please come over here' for a final shot, Greenberg pretended to be using a standard modeling light.

The resulting photos depict McCain as devilish, with bulging brows and washed-out skin.


...but yeah, Michelle Bachmann's fears about a photographer the Times sent are totally irrational, completely out of the blue, and in no way understandable. Yeah.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Nonapod said...
As difficult as it is to take a flattering picture of someone, it's conversely just as easy to take unflattering pictures of people. For example, when your face is transitioning from one expression to another it can look especially goofy."

Another landmine is eating in public. Nobody looks good when they are about to take a bite out of a hamburger and the camera captures them with their mouths wide open. Or with their tongues sticking out as they lick an ice cream cone.

Bill said...

I was shocked, because one, it’s amazing for someone just to speak their mind so directly...

It's likely he's never photographed Camille Paglia. At a press conference early in her public career, she said, "I said no flash, asshole . . . I’m not Cindy Crawford, I’m an academic talking ideas here.”

Darrell said...

Michele Bachmann got conned into eating a footlong corndog at some State Fair, as well. Women, never fall for that. Even drinking a Coke from the bottle is out, with Photoshop.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...
Buck comments:
I was shocked, because one, it’s amazing for someone just to speak their mind so directly


SomeONE, or some WOMAN? A man stating how he wants to be photographed/how he expects thing would probably be congratulated for his strength and forthrightness, but here the photographer is shocked to hear exactly that from a woman? Sexism, straight up.

William said...

There's too much agitprop to the photo. Only someone who does not like Bachman would be tempted to read the article. The picture is more demonstrative of media bias than of Bachman's craziness.......Gender is said to be fluid, and a man demonstrates courage by cutting off his penis in order to attain a female identity. On the other hand, if a man with effete mannerisms preaches heterosexuality, then that man is a fraud and a disgrace.

Chuck said...

If you Google "Michelle Bachmann" and click on the Images link, here's what you find:

1. Dozens and dozens of really nice pictures of Michelle Bachmann as a borderline-beautiful woman. If there are professional models who look as good as she does at her age, I'd like some pictures.

2. Naturally, there was the Newsweek cover, repeated, and a couple of shots from that photo-shoot that are among the prominently-featured images on Google. I am surprised, frankly, that there aren't more, and that it is more disproportionately skewed toward unflattering photos.

3. A few candid shots from public events where she is mid-speech, or otherwise un-posed, and that are typically unflattering. We see this with every public figure, from Barack Obama to Donald Trump to Barbra Streisand to Jack Nicholson to the Queen of England. Again, I was surprised at how few there were. Michelle Bachmann is a naturally attractive person with a great face.

In the end, you look at 50 or 100 pictures of Michell Bachmann and it is clear that the Newsweek cover photo was terrible. It was not representative and is completely unlike anything other she's ever been in, photographically.

It was a setup and a hit on her, by the Newsweek editors.

Brando said...

"Another landmine is eating in public. Nobody looks good when they are about to take a bite out of a hamburger and the camera captures them with their mouths wide open. Or with their tongues sticking out as they lick an ice cream cone."

Yes--you can appear with food in your hand or in front of you, but never eat while there's a camera near it. Even soup is risky.

Another thing to avoid--hats or costumes. Those never go well.

CStanley said...

Things like this can happen--the new standard practice should be to have your own photographer take shots you can provide to the periodical, or if you are using their photographer, get a written agreement to have final say over what shots they use.

There's an interesting discussion in the interview of Buck at the link (though the topic isn't fully fleshed out) where he comes down on the side of the 2nd amendment prohibiting that sort of practice with regard to journalists and politicians. I read between the lines too that he sees the unflattering portraiture as akin to hard hitting journalism, which seems very unfair to me. Using visual imagery to project a particular unsettling personality in a politician is quite different than asking tough questions about policy or even about governing style. Buck also stresses that Newsweek was his client and that he would not go into detail about what they asked for but that it's reasonable to assume they wanted something "human and vulnerable."

Really? Now why would that be?

CStanley said...

Heh.

Brando said...

"Buck also stresses that Newsweek was his client and that he would not go into detail about what they asked for but that it's reasonable to assume they wanted something "human and vulnerable.""

Yeah, I'm not seeing "human and vulnerable" from the crazy eyes photo.

n.n said...

I suppose the Newsweek Cover is the equivalent of pulling the girl's ponytail. They exhibited the same obsession with Sarah Palin.

Freeman Hunt said...

Pretty great idea for a book.

Saint Croix said...

Another thing to avoid--hats or costumes. Those never go well.

Calvin Coolidge was warned not to put on that Indian headdress. "People will laugh," his advisors told him.

And he replied…

"Well, it's good for people to laugh."

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Nice pic. What is the current print circulation of NewsWeek?

Saint Croix said...

I like his photo of Obama.

I think he captured the snake!

Or at least a wary, suspicious guy. And some cynicism.

David said...

"there are other ways to deflect or refigure something without directly accusing me and my client of trying to disparage her."

And yet they persisted. To disparage her as predicted.

Danno said...

My only problems with Bachmann were her ability to get set up in "stupid sound bites" and how she made a pretty reliable conservative congressional district go through too many nail-biter elections in her tenure. Not a street smart politician.

Clark said...

Time: she has the audacity to suggest we would be unfair.

Photog: I'll calm her down.

Time and Photog: we got her!! Hahahaha!

Gretchen said...

So Buck is proud of making a beautiful woman look terrible. Oddly, all photos of Hillary on major magazine covers are flattering, and she is objectively less attractive than Bachman.

AprilApple said...

Newsweek and Time are leftwing progressive corruption supporting democrat rags.