The chosen one

The chosen one: Perhaps it should [Macro error: Can’t evaluate the expression because the name “ftpSite” hasn’t been defined.]
that out of tens of millions of photographs taken of the former president, Time and Newsweek would choose the exact same frame, cropped precisely the same way, for their covers this week. For the record, I would have chosen the exact same one also.

June 14, 2004

For an explanation of the rexblog feature, Clone Covers, visit [Macro error: Can’t evaluate the expression because the name “ftpSite” hasn’t been defined.]
. Previous 2004 [Macro error: Can’t evaluate the expression because the name “ftpSite” hasn’t been defined.]

Later: This a response to an e-mail question: (More information about this in the NY Times article below, also.) The photograph is credited to Michael Evans who is represented by the Zuma Press photo agency. The website provides the following information about the photograph: Photograph of Ronald Reagan in a cowboy hat at Rancho Del Cielo, California. 1976 Collection RR-WHPO: White House Photographic Collection, 01/20/1981 – 01/20/1989. The National Archives and Records Administration NLS-WHPO-A-E13(3) Later II: The NY Times David Carr covers the issue of the Reagan clone covers issue:

“I am not completely surprised,” said Jim Kelly, managing editor of Time magazine. “Yes, there are a lot of images of Reagan out there, but very few that fit so well in the frame of a cover and tell a story the way this one did.” Over at Newsweek, the editors assigned the coincidence to an instance in which great minds thought alike. “We knew it might happen,” said Jon Meacham, managing editor of Newsweek, who also wrote the main article in the magazine about Mr. Reagan’s death. “We have known for six or seven years that this day was going to come and I guess we just decided that this was the best cover for our story.”… …With the Reagan covers, there are some slight differences. Time’s version of the photograph is much more ruddy-hued, the redness of the face emphasized by the magazine’s signature red border, while Newsweek’s president-as-cowboy has more brownish tones. Mr. Kelly chalked the differences up to the vagaries of the printing process and said the photograph was not altered…. (Photographer Michael) Evans, who is now chief technical officer of Zuma Press, a photo agency, was pleasantly surprised that both magazines, which had years to ponder their choice, ended up choosing his intimate portrait of the president. Back in 1980, before the Republican convention that would eventually lead to Mr. Reagan’s first term in office, Mr. Evans spent the day photographing him as he worked his horses and did chores. At the end of the day, they were sitting on the porch and fell into conversation. “I can’t exactly remember what I said, but he must have liked it because he had this smile that came and went quickly,” Mr. Evans said. “I didn’t know exactly what I had, but I knew it was a great situation with great light, so I thought there would be something worthwhile.” The coincidence of images will have few business implications. The magazines are mostly mailed to subscribers and sell relatively few of their copies on the newsstand, though commemorative issues have more single-copy sales. “This is not the first time this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last,” Mr. Kelly said. “It is an absolutely fantastic image.”

  • lcreekmo

    Wow, that is a classic. [Don’t you think SOMEONE at Time and Newsweek is at least SLIGHTLY embarrassed???? Really. There must have been millions to choose from.]

    It’s interesting to see what happens though when someone tries to distill your life, your image, your persona into one photo or headline. Do you think this week’s clone cover means we all knew him so well? I think it does.

  • Hudge

    I don’t think anyone knew Ronald Reagan really well other than his wife, but truly, when we are honest with ourselves, even our closest friends and loved ones know only a part of the real us. Thank God.

    It is more interesting to see how the two magazine staffs dealt with the photo itself. Newsweek’s reproduction – assuming the online images fairly well reflect the print versions – is warm-toned, while Time’s is cooler, bluer, less warm. The result is that on Time, his lopsided grin verges on being a sneer – imho, of course – while Newsweek’s makes him seem more open, inviting and avuncular. Newsweek also made his head image slightly larger, which seems to enhance the effect.