The strategic management of political photos in the Canadian election - 2019-10-02
Political campaigns make many strategic calculations when it comes to photographs of party leaders. Canadian voters look for specific personality traits in party leaders, such as honesty, intelligence, friendliness, sincerity and trustworthiness, and so using image management techniques can help create the impression that leaders possess these qualities.
Controlling how leaders appear in photographs is an age-old practice. The United States Secret Service used force to prevent journalists from taking photographs of Franklin D. Roosevelt in his wheelchair. When we see photographs of Russian President Vladimir Putin shirtless or New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugging a Muslim woman, it's likely the leaders have made political calculations about their image.
In Canada, a number of photographic mishaps stand out for damaging a politician's career. The most notorious is of Robert Stanfield fumbling a football on an airport tarmac. Today, strategists are mindful that digital images travel fast and could go viral in moments.