Faces and gestures of politicians

During election campaigns, we are also addressed by the leading candidates on websites and posters. But who do they want to show us?

An election campaign is more about moods than arguments, more about simple slogans than complex thoughts. And in a media democracy it is determined by people, by their appearance and behavior, when they appear in the media for the audience "tested" become. For this purpose, the main characters are trained and styled. But on television, during live appearances, the "image" not really plan through, but in commercials or with photographs on posters or on the internet.

For the election campaign, everyone "already", at least important, competent and somehow attractive. In the case of the candidates for chancellor and the other top candidates, the appearance on posters and websites is a matter for the consultants, who prepare and dress up their clients, respectively. Suitable photos and revise them. What they want to tell us?

I first stumbled across a campaign picture of chancellor schroder, which can be found on the front page of his website. The hands are striking, the gesture of which is probably meant to communicate something important.

Schroder is completely focused on an imaginary counterpart. It is suggested that he is talking to the viewer of the picture. On the other hand, he misses the point by a hair’s breadth. So he does talk to a person who is just off the mark?

Somehow, however, there is a break with the serious expression and the gesture of the hand, which symbolizes that it is only something small and manageable that the important man has to deal with. The old chancellor, who also wants to become the new chancellor – or at least pretends to be the new chancellor – can do that. Because it is also a game. Die wiederwahl hat schroder zwar eingeleitet, aber wie wollte eine neue rot-grune koalition regieren. She at least had to wait for something to change in the bundesrat. But that would be highly improbable. Maybe he just wants to justify himself once again before being voted out of office?

What the still acting chancellor small talk respectively. The fact that the candidate for chancellor, angela merkel, has to wait for something to change in the bundesrat is a big step for her, after all, she has already announced the election of destiny. But on a picture it became badly, if one the gestisch kleingemachte of the chancellor roughly aufblahen became. Nevertheless, on angela merkel’s website you can find a picture in which she too – albeit in a photo that is not exactly recent and, moreover, suggests modesty in its smallness – is acting with her hands. Things are a little rougher here, but the gesture of opening arms is emphatically ambivalent. She argues lassig and friendly, in style "that’s the way it is!", but at the same time shows itself to be open and, if you like, also hands-on. The little stone schroders has then already become a brick. What is interesting here is that the viewer of the picture clearly becomes an observer of a conversation, because merkel is one person – woman or man? – toward the back of the table, which sees.

Faces and gestures of politicians

On a poster, on the other hand, the candidate for chancellor, who has arrived in the present, presents herself in a pink jacket, smiling a bit tightly and looking away from the viewer. Here, she is not the one who knows better and can assert herself; here, she is not the head of government that schroder makes her out to be; here, she is an innocent, harmless-looking middle-aged woman. The picture suggests that this woman, a kind of mother of the nation next door, if she were one, poses no danger; there will be no avant-garde experiments, nor will there be any visions. She means well, the future is in safe hands. And if it does go wrong, it doesn’t seem powerful enough to prevent a reorientation of the policy.

faces and gestures of politicians

Joschka fischer’s website – the first name is symptomatically enough for the domain name – shows a picture in which the still incumbent minister – neither too fat nor too dark – is looking directly at the viewer as a person with his shirt collar open and in a relaxed manner.

Image consultants apparently do not trust the direct look. However, looking to the side is an old tradition, even in the painted portraits hardly anyone ever looks directly at the viewer. This is too obtrusive, it could be off-putting and frightening, it creates more distance, after all, if the gaze is averted, the viewer can remain in the dark and come closer unobserved, look more curiously.

Fischer is not shown in action, but tries to compensate for the close approach by making eye contact with a friendly smile. This person also wants only good. He is not the highly official aubenminister and diplomat, but the person, who steps in the middle from the everyday life into the policy and acts openly as well as directly.

But of course there is also the campaigner. Here one looked for a lassig arguing fisherman with furrowed face and raised hand with the grunen. The hand, only blurredly recognizable because of the violent movement, hammers the truth into the heads of those addressed. Naturally, fischer is not looking at the viewer, but out of the picture. Either the supporters are to be cheered on by the worried daddy or opponents or. Undecideds will be softened up by the truth-teller.

True to the motto of avoiding eye contact, guido westerwelle also looks past the viewer on his website. The top candidate smiles as if a welcome visitor had just arrived to his left, to whom he turns, but remains silent. Westerwelle is here after the authority figures, the moms and dads quite the dear boy, correctly dressed to please the parents, far away from any shenanigans – the late election campaign was once – and in his bravado seems just as inexperienced as angela merkel.

Faces and gestures of politicians

On an election campaign poster, westerwelle’s bubi character can’t be spirited away, but here he looks sufficiently serious at the viewer after all. That makes this one as baffled as westerwelle looks here. The team of mama merkel and bubi westerwelle certainly fits well together and contrasts with the weighty men who radiate authority on the one hand and conventional unconcern on the other hand.

But there is also edmund stoiber from the south, who on the photo on his website – in contrast to fischer, the domain name consists only of the surname – appears quite jovial. Although correctly and strictly dressed, he is leaning forward with his arms crossed and obviously listening – with the usual sideways glance – to another, benevolent person, who, however, judging by the look, is standing higher than the bavarian head of government. He is a sovereign democratic service provider, approachable but distant, with a courtly, not so friendly smile on his lips.

Faces and gestures of the politicians

The team of gregor gysi and oskar lafontaine is similar to schroder/fischer on the picture front. Both have not yet managed to set up their own website. With gregor-gysi.De one is at least redirected to the party side. After the first flights of fancy, however, the effort may have been even greater in the internet battle.

Faces and gestures of politicians

Oskar lafontaine is supposed to mime the dignified and experienced politician, therefore appearing in a tie suit. But in the picture he looks as if something scared him. The viewer’s gaze is directed obliquely upwards to the right and with a slightly open mouth he seems to recognize something bad and to duck away. Perhaps one meant to save germany, first of all the perception of the terrible, which came, if savior lafontaine does not step in.

faces and gestures of politicians

Gysi on the other hand is quite the lascivious and cunning player. He looks the viewer in the face, with open shirt collar, in familiar atmosphere, with the head lassig – or mude? – on the hand trimmed. Nothing can happen to us. We’re going into battle, but it’s only a game we’re playing. If it doesn’t work, also good. Nothing is promised here. If one were to take only these two pictures of the leading candidates of the left party, one would not be able to give them much hope.

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