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Official Portraits [Hardcover]

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Item description for Official Portraits by Berlin Press Klaus Zwangsleitner...

Authority, leadership, stability, benevolence, even grace: there are certain qualities that an official portrait should identify in a leader. Yet when the 191 member states of the United Nations were asked to submit the official portrait of their Head of State, the resulting gallery revealed much more. Despite the relatively straightforward exigencies of official portraiture and the legacy of a long tradition of the genre in paintings, sculpture, and public monuments, the diversity of these images surprises. They range in scope from semi-private snapshots to staged tableaux in generic offices, from full-length portraits in front of stately buildings to close-ups before national emblems. Some portraits invoke the bureaucratic machinery and the strategizing that went into their production, while others seem more indebted to personal whimsy; even the banality of the everyday snapshot occasionally creeps into these staged displays of official power. In Official Portraits, editorial influence is kept to a minimum. The selection of a single image to be reproduced in this volume was left to the states themselves. Organized alphabetically according to leader's name, this is not a handbook to put faces to nations; rather, the arbitrariness of their arrangement emphasizes the contrivance of these images of power. Official Portraits allows these images to speak for themselves.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.94"
Weight:   1.19 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 2, 2005
Publisher   Trolley
ISBN  1904563333  
ISBN13  9781904563334  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > How-to > General
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Portraits
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > Public Affairs & Administration
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > International > Relations

Reviews - What do customers think about Official Portraits?

A nice resource  Sep 24, 2005
This book is a handy snapshot in time for anyone who is interested in studying the leaders of the world.

The premise of the book is very simple- the editors simply asked the governments of the 191 countries of the world to email them a portrait of their nation's leader. Most countries complied, and "Official Portraits" is thus a collection of the portraits they received. From Tony Blair to Jacques Chirac to Pervez Musharaff, each page features a large portrait of a different leader, with his or her title beneath. Most of the photos are generally high-quality and professional, but a couple are quite blurry, and some look so amateurish I was left thinking that a simple "Google Image Search" would have probably turned up some better-looking portraits. A handful of countries sent images which were of such poor quality they couldn't even be included in the book, and are instead recorded in a small index in the back. But in general, the portraits are all clear and official-looking. One interesting thing I found about them was noticing how many leaders were depicted with various trinkets of office, such as medals, sashes, or scepters. Though most presidents and prime ministers are just boring guys in suits, some countries have still managed to preserve traditions to keep their office of head of state distinct.

All the leaders in this book were in power in the fall of 2004, which was now over a year ago. As a result, several are no longer in office. As a strictly educational resource, the book may have thus outlived it's value. But it remains an amusing look at the diversity of our world's rulers, and I would still recommend it to any political junkie.

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