Jean-Christian Rostagni


918 Carolina Ave, Durham, NC 27705.


Obama Inauguration

Of, By, For

I have photographed politics in France for a long time, and when I moved to the United States, 20 years ago, I carried on. It was therefore very important for me to photograph Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009. I wanted to be in the middle of the crowd, in order to have a human ocean in my foreground, the Capitol in the background and a giant screen somewhere that would relay the institutional part of the event. My concept was to emphasize the popular dimension of the event that I was anticipating to be exceptional.

It ended up being of historical proportions: the largest human gathering in one location in the history of the Western World, more than 2 million people, see the photographs.

Since then, the photograph above has emerged as the most symbolic from this event whose historical importance has touched the whole world. This brief moment (Lincoln disappeared for good from the screens shortly after I made the shot), offers a second degree vision of the event and poetically evokes its mass-like quality, its mystique, as if Lincoln, whose fight allowed Barack Obama to become President, was transmitting the United States destiny to his protégé.

Citizens of France and the U,S,A. have contributed over $1,800. so that a print of this photograph in one of my frames may be offered to President Obama. A high level official will deliver the framed photograph to the President in the next few weeks, most likely in July 2013. A list of the contributors may be found below.

The 27" wide print was framed by myself following techniques and styles shown in Monsieur Contraste the Rodrigo Dorfman film about my work. The film premiered at the Cucalorus Film Festival, see my blog.

Of By For Photo Framed

Of, By, For 27" Print framed by the artist for President Obama




  • Christiane Hennion, Valence, France.
  • Susan Webster & Hernan Navarette, Williamsburg, VA, USA
  • Annie Pambagian, Carrboro, NC, USA
  • Galia Goodman, Durham, NC, USA
  • Karen Crumbliss, Durham, NC, USA
  • Martha Lefebvre, Durham, N.C.USA
  • Douglas Brown, Pittsboro, N.C.USA
  • Michael Bacon, Durham, N.C.USA
  • June Arlinghaus, Durham, N.C.USA
  • Kenny Dalsheimer, Durham, N.C.USA
  • Jay Hamilton, Durham, NC, USA
  • Philippe Reynier, Guilherand, Ardèche, France
  • Baba Sada Sow, Valence, France
  • Shelli Plesser, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Susan Saenger & Gary Gartner, Durham, N.C. USA
  • John Schelp, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Gary Wein, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Sue Lander, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Elizabeth Peel & David Solow, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Jocelyn Jones Williams, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Peg Carlson, Lena, Andrew, Jacob Geller, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Doug Garrison, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Khadidiatou Sarr, Valence, France.
  • Arthur Raveson, NY, USA
  • Martha Gensemer-Ramirez, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Tom Walken, Raleigh, N.C. USA
  • Catherine, Tom and Millie Admay, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Wendy Jacobs, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Ellen Bush, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Gretchen Hanser and Peter Armenia, NY, USA
  • Elizabeth Woodman, Hillsborough, N.C. USA
  • Kelli Dugan & John St Clair, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Betsy Barton, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Randall Best, Durham, N.C. USA
  • Heidi Hannapel, Durham, N.C. USA

Stacks Image 1256
Obama Inauguration
Of By For Photo Framed