The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. The question I then want to know the answer to is, how many words are 52,938 pictures worth? 52,938,000 words? I ask because as of November 12, that was how many photographs had been posted to Barack Obama’s Photostream on Flickr. The madness began on November 5 when backstage photos were published on the site by the Obama campaign showing our president-elect and his family watching the election returns. Since then, the site has been bombarded with photographs from all over the country documenting everything from the rally at which Obama announced his candidacy in February 2007 to the aftermath of the election.
The media has been overrun since the election with photographs of America as it experienced November 4; it has even been overrun with photographs of America as it has experienced the entire two-year campaign process. The Flickr site, however, is different because it is yet another piece of evidence proving the grassroots nature of the campaign. The Flickr site documents all aspects, big and small, of the movement that went into electing our 44th president. There are pictures of speeches and organizing meetings and rallies and yard signs and babies in Obama t-shirts and on and on and on.
Because there are pictures of everything Obama campaign-related, the majority of the pictures are bad or boring or mundane. Of course, there are (although I naturally didn’t look at all of them) the occasional moving and beautiful shots, and those are fun to find—like treasures at the flea market. But what’s really cool about the site is the pure volume of its contents. It’s simply overwhelming.