Aesthetic VS. Narrative

I have been playing with this as an idea for a tagline for Orange Door.


In early December, I heard Peter Souza speak on his book tour for Obama: An Intimate Portrait.  Souza is the former Chief Official White House Photographer for U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama and the former director of the White House Photography Office. A lesser claim to fame is being one of my favorite Instagram follows.

He is a prolific storyteller. The guy has a wry sense of humor and an incredible eye for detail.  He shared the backstory behind many of the photos in the book (it was a few days before the anniversary of Sandy Hook, making for some incredible storytelling) and how he chose the images. He talked about going to see Obama in Chicago as the book was almost finished.  Souza had culled through millions of images, editing them down to hundreds. As they looked through the images, Obama said something along the lines of “Sometimes you’ve got to choose the aesthetic over the narrative.” I don’t really remember Souza’s answer. I was so struck by the words on the screen. I started thinking about my own business and how I look at my work. 

Does it have to be one vs. the other?  So, I changed vs. to a +.  Why can’t you have all the feels, all the facts and the look too?  So much in our lives is versus.  I want my work to be additive.  Giving someone's business something that isn't there, yet - the right language to describe their mission or an Instagram feed that tells their story.

I mean, who am I to argue with a former President and one of the most prolific, visual storytellers of our time?  I guess I am a girl on a quest to have it all (and share it, too). I hope they don’t mind the tweak.

What do you think? Is it a vs. or a +. 

Allison Cohen