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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Is Democracy to You?

"No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent."
~ Abraham Lincoln
"The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed."
~ G.K. Chesterton
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
~ John F. Kennedy

I know some of us have touched on this topic earlier in the month. I tried my hand at it.

There's a second contest at JPG magazine I want to enter. The theme is Democracy. (You remember the first contest, right? You voted for me, right? Just checking.)

What images come to mind when you think of democracy? I'm curious to know. This is one image I like a lot.

Somehow, I am starting to feel more hopeful about democracy lately. I hope, I hope. But that last quote by Kennedy makes me realize how much we as a people have not been told.


Now I need your opinion on which photo above you think I should enter for the Demcracy contest. You don't even need to tell me why you like the one you pick, but if you wanted to, that would be great.


ps. Of course, I'll be hitting you up for a vote then, too, but let's just take one thing at a time. ($100 will buy me a lot of AA batteries for my little ol' Canon.)



UPDATE 7/27: I chose the last photo (the "Obama Fence") for the contest. You can vote for it by clicking on the icon of the image in the sidebar. Thanks!


msHedgehog July 23, 2008 at 2:50 PM  

This one's hard to answer. Artistically, I like the first one best. But the first one and (I think) the last one seem to refer to a specific candidate, and I wonder if that makes them less likely to win a competition because the judges might not want to appear to endorse a candidate.

The middle one is a remarkably beautiful photo but doesn't specifically suggest democracy to me at all; it's just a national flag. It suggests a lot of ideas, and that's probably somewhere on the list, but nowhere near the top. However, if it is at the top for Americans when they look at the same image, it might be the one with the best chance of winning.

studio wellspring July 23, 2008 at 4:00 PM  

i like the top photo the best. the color, shadow & composition , but also the fact that is a unique image of obama and a "found object" make the over all photo most appealing to me. i think it speaks of american democracy because our country is all about being able to speak of & endorse who ever we want politically {even a mixed-race man raised by a single mom in poverty}.

mrs. sarah ott July 23, 2008 at 6:39 PM  

i'm going with the first one because of the outer color of the door being slightly darker and then the red trim. it brings to mind that we are renewing our definition of democracy as well. we are allowing in more colors to the spectrum. i do love that kennedy quote.

Psyche July 23, 2008 at 11:45 PM  

I like the last one. And also, for me, it neatly sums up the difference between the US and the UK in terms of attitude - you guys still believe you can improve things.

Like Ms Hedgehog, the flag doesn't say democracy to me at all. Actually, it has rather negative connotations for me. I'm sure that it represents very different things to Americans from the things it represents to many non-Americans.

The Obama photo is beautiful, but very specific. For me it speaks of other things than democracy before it speaks of democracy. The last one, I feel, says something different about democracy, something original but vital.

Christina July 24, 2008 at 6:20 AM  

The first one for me! It has brilliant colors and of course it screams urban cool and I happen to love that : )

You must go with the one that you absolutely love- then let me know so I can vote for you! Wink.

tangobaby July 24, 2008 at 9:20 AM  

Hi all!

I LOVED reading your comments here and seeing the thought you put into your responses...

Psyche, what you wrote made me realize how instinctual it can be to automatically associate a symbol with an ideal.

I did decide to use the last one though, the fence. Even though it is not as good a photo as the other two, it has a raw, active realness to it. I can picture the people that might have painted that fence.

I love the first photo very much. From the minute I took it, it was a favorite. JPG has an Obama theme, too, so I've submitted it there.

Thanks for your comments, guys. I really enjoyed your opinions and thoughts.

Psyche July 24, 2008 at 11:05 AM  

Just been to vote. Yours is the best so far, imo.

tangobaby July 24, 2008 at 12:29 PM  

Thank you, Psyche. I'm touched you think it's the best photo...I like it, but I wish this photo could be a little better. I think I like what this image stands for better than the image itself.

But thanks for the vote! It is very appreciated!

one2tango July 26, 2008 at 6:00 AM  

Hello Tangobaby,
I guess I am a bit late with my comment.. anyway, it probably wouldn´t be all that useful, because my associations are clearly very different from those of the target public... I like the last picture best, also because the first two, while being very good pictures, do not remotely convey any sense of ´democracy´, to me that is; these things are very culture-specific you see..
Anyway.. reading your last posts, I just thought I´d come in with a bit of the Old World´s cynicism :) it reminded me of a quotation I read about a month ago on the wall of a café in a country which is considered to be the ´cradle of democracy´; it said something along the lines of
´Democracy is when you say what you want, and do what the others want.´
It is reactionary, I admit, but it sort of sums it up, doesn´t it?

Meryl July 31, 2008 at 11:30 AM  

Oh, that's your Obama poster photo. I think I saw it on flickr the other day--if I didn't say so there, I really love it!

tangobaby July 31, 2008 at 11:56 AM  

Hi Meryl,

Welcome to my blog and thank you for the compliment! It's my secret (not so secret) daydream that this photo will go viral and be picked up by the Obama campaign to be used in any way they see fit. I just love that image.

I am happy to say that it's been picked as a "hot photo" on jpgmag.com so perhaps I'm on my way.


Octavine Illustration August 2, 2008 at 3:37 PM  

off to go vote for you!~ love the pics....all of them, but i think "yes we can" is the most powerful and inspiring. and fits the category to a tee.