TheGuardian – A Message For Obama


All photographs copyright of the photographers courtesy of TheGuardian

I had essentially stated a couple of days ago here, that with the advent of the Print on Demand (POD) book we can have a book in print almost 10 days after an event has occurred. With the recent election of Barrack Obama as President of the United States I am going to review a couple of these “hot off the press” books about his election.

This review is the hardcover 7″ x 7″ book published by Guardian News &  Media in late 2008 titled A Message For Obama. The 120 page book was developed by the Guardian staff as a collaborative effort with the visitors who posted messages about their thoughts and feelings to either the Guardian  or a Flickr site. The editors state that they were able to commission, compile, edit and print their book all within three weeks. Not bad although not at internet or a newspaper speed but amazing to have a published hardcover book available in that short amount of time.

One of the interesting aspects of this small book is that the photographs were contributed from individual located through out the world and that it was edited by a staff in the U.K.  This book might be considered to be a more unbiased and objective assessment of the US politics and the election of Obama.

Regarding the photographs probably the vast majority were non-professional photographers and made by individuals who passionately hoped to pass a personal message to Obama. There is that Flickr rawness to them which is direct and unpolished, sometimes literally wearing their message on their sleeve, forehead or on the back of their hands. The lighting is sometimes poor, the compositions weak, and the images very grainy and overall technically poor photographs. The photographs do carry a big emotional impact, ranging from the totally dedicated, to the non-believers and skeptics.

The book design and layout reflects the edginess and rawness of the photographs within and respectfully not loosing anyone or anything in the gutters. It is not apparent that any relevant content is slipping off with the full bleed images. The book is not monotonous to read and has a nice pace using a variety of the layout templates to provide variety. Will it be on someone’s best of 2009? Very doubtful (well maybe the folks at TheGuardian) and maybe book might have a lot of interest in 10, 20 or 30 years after Flickr is long gone and folks who are interested in what did happen with this election and how did the global community reacted.

It is also very nice that the proceeds from the sale of this book are going to TheGuardian’s long term aid project for Katine, more info here.

Best regards, Douglas Stockdale






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