Single Picture Review

September 12, 2009

Supreme Court Justice Sonie Sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice Sonie Sotomayor

After much interrogation and controversy, Sonia Sotomayor was recently sworn in as Supreme Court Justice. In this photograph, numerous visual techniques are employed to convey several messages.
To begin, one of the most striking features of this photograph are the many lines behind Justice Sotomayor. According to “Images, Objects and Ideas: Viewing the Visual Arts,” horizontal lines represent peace and calmness. These qualities are often associated with women and it may represent what people believe she will bring to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is presented in the photograph as the columns in the background, because vertical lines symbolize power, nobility, and confidence. But as is visible, while she is officially a part of the Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor has many steps to go until she is an experienced member.
Another interesting feature of this photograph is the use of color. Justice Sotomayor is the gray-area of the firmly established black and white of the rest of the photograph. The lack of color is important in reference to the seriousness of the Supreme Court.
Finally, the symmetry of the photograph provides balance and order to the image (“Images, Objects, and Idaes”), just as Justice Sotomayor is expected to bring to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, her arms appear as though she could be weighing an issue on the scales of justice and that she will hopefully keep them balanced, even though her face is completely facing one side.
Overall, these are just a few of the many messages the photographer conveyed through his use of visual techniques when documenting this historic event.


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