May 16, 2003
Sforza in DeService of George W

Whereas "art" is now all frivolity and ironic distance and "Why do you take it so seriously?" wide eyed pseudo-innocence (see my previous posting), after the crap is in the can and has got the desired response, this is the real thing. And don't whatever you do miss the extra pictures. Click were it says "MULTIMEDIA" to the right of the second paragraph of the story. I especially like the first one, with its oh-so-artful ethnic mixing, of The Man embracing his fellow fliers, at "magic hour".

In fifty year's time, this is the stuff that should be in the museums.

The New York Times can't help itself. It is impressed. As am I.

"They understand the visual as well as anybody ever has," said Michael K. Deaver, Ronald Reagan's chief image maker. "They watched what we did, they watched the mistakes of Bush I, they watched how Clinton kind of stumbled into it, and they've taken it to an art form."

In case the links collapse, what all this is about is the extraordinary pictorial propaganda effort being run from the Geroge W. Bush White House to glorify George W. Bush.

"I don't know who does it," Mr. Deaver said, "but somebody's got a good eye over there."

That somebody, White House officials and television executives say, is in fact three or four people. First among equals is Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer who was hired by the Bush campaign in Austin, Tex., and who now works for Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. Mr. Sforza created the White House "message of the day" backdrops and helped design the $250,000 set at the United States Central Command forward headquarters in Doha, Qatar, during the Iraq war.

Mr. Sforza works closely with Bob DeServi, a former NBC cameraman whom the Bush White House hired after seeing his work in the 2000 campaign. Mr. DeServi, whose title is associate director of communications for production, is considered a master at lighting. "You want it, I'll heat it up and make a picture," he said early this week. Mr. DeServi helped produce one of Mr. Bush's largest events, a speech to a crowd in Revolution Square in Bucharest last November.

To stage the event, Mr. DeServi went so far as to rent Musco lights in Britain, which were then shipped across the English Channel and driven across Europe to Romania, where they lighted Mr. Bush and the giant stage across from the country's former Communist headquarters.

Interesting how Italian names like Sforza and DeServi crop up as two of the leading brains behind this stuff. Some things never change. Think of those amazing Italian renaissance portraits with their extraordinary and extraordinarily detailed and carefully crafted backgrounds. Well, here come those Italians again.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:53 PM
Category: Photography