Although James K. Polk was the first president to be photographed, it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln ran for office that a president (or presidential candidate) took advantage of photography to promote their ideas and campaign.
Since then, presidents have relied on presidential photographers to document their activities in office.
Watch this short video to better understand how presidential photography can help define a presidency and even an entire era in American politics.
Consult Common Core ELA Literacy Standard 8.2: Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
- Consult the “Questions” tab for discussion questions about how historic and modern presidents have used photography to present their ideas and platforms to the public.
(1809-1865) 16th American president.
James K. Polk
(1795-1849) 11th American president.
John F. Kennedy
(1917-1963) 35th president of the United States.
art and science of producing still or moving images using the chemical reaction of light on a sensitive surface, such as film or an electronic sensor.
incumbent president or president who is currently in office.