I've been meaning to post this and kept forgetting. A week or so ago, Erroll Morris asked some white house photographers to find the most emblematic photos of the Bush years and talk about them. The whole article is fascinating, but this actually made the hair on the back of my neck stand up a little bit:
JIM BOURG: I was planning describe to and you had asked me to choose ten photographs, but to tell you the truth, I was pretty tempted to supplement it with one of the pictures by our photographer Jason Reed from last night’s farewell address. I was paging through the thumbnails with our remote editing program as they came in live from the White House. And it is not often, with all the pictures I’ve edited, that I stop dead in my tracks and say, “Oh, my God,” but I did that last night. Bush finished his address to the nation, went back out through the doors, and the doors closed behind him and the national TV broadcast went off the air. And then after the live TV was off, the doors suddenly reopened, and he came back in to say goodbye to all the guests – his former cabinet members, his current cabinet members, Dick Cheney, his daughters, Laura and lots of other friends and supporters. He popped out that door, and when the door opened and he came through it, the look on his face was like no look I’d ever seen on George Bush’s face in my life. I actually flagged three versions as he comes through the door and his expression changes.
U.S. President George W. Bush re-enters the White House East room to say goodbye to staff and friends after his primetime address in Washington, January 15, 2009. Bush on Thursday defended his actions to avert a collapse of the financial system and protect America from another terrorist attack as he mounted a farewell bid to polish his troubled legacy. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)
And I turned to one of my editors — First I said, “Oh, my God.” And he said, “What?” And I said, “You’ve got to see this picture of Bush. This is really stunning.” And I flipped it over to him to process and his first reaction was, “Wow.” And I said, “If he wasn’t just back there behind that door crying, I don’t know what that look on his face is.” Because he just looks absolutely devastated as he comes through this door after essentially ending his eight year presidency. And it’s just really striking. He just looks absolutely devastated.