Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Family

In 1976 Richard Avendon set out to photograph the 69 most powerful men and women in America. He called the result The Family.

Looking at these faces against their unchanging white background the words "shooting gallery" come to mind. I wonder if they occured to Avendon too? Did he ever fantasise he was holding a gun?

Most of these people are long gone. Some still cling- in lizardly, age-spotted skin- to the edges of power. Here's the apparently immortal Henry Kissinger; here's a young, granite-faced Donald Rumsfeld. I'm not an American but if I were I might recognise more of the faces than I do- or perhaps not. The fame that comes with power rarely lasts for long

How many 19th century presidents can you name? How many vice presidents?

Soon-to-be President Jimmy Carter looks terribly worried, soon-to-be-President Ronald Reagan gazes past the photographer as if already not altogether present, soon-to-be-President George Bush Sr slouches with hands in pockets- what a preppy boy! President-for the-passing-moment Gerald Ford stands ramrod straight, like a toy soldier, with a fringe of flag down the side of his box..

Nixon isn't here. Nixon was sulking. It was his recent fall that shuffled the pack to produce this particular spread. Nixon was very wicked but were this lot any improvement? Did his departure make the world a better place? The faces change, the Family remains.

Power is a process. It flits from person to person like a dybbuk.
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