Photographic First # 21 – The first media president

Figure 1 - Theodore Roosevelt campaigning from the US LOC and in the public domain because of its age.

Figure 1 – Theodore Roosevelt campaigning from the US LOC and in the public domain because of its age.

Following on my blog of this past Friday, I’d like to discuss the first president who used the media of photography and video. Just as Obama was the first presidential candidate to fully exploit the revolution of the internet, it was Theodore Roosevelt who first utilized photography and motion pictures to effect. McKinley was the first president to appear in a movie sequence, but it was Roosevelt who exploited its potential. Figure 1 shows the young presidential candidate campaigning.

But I found something that I believe is truly remarkable. In October of I910 the Wright Brothers held an airshow or air meet in St Louis, MO. TR, who at the time was no longer president, was invited by aviator Arch Hoxsey to join him on a flight in a biplane. This is immortalized in the image of Figure 2. But more remarkably, the event was filmed. It was the first time that a United States president flew. The Colonel at first refuses the invitation, but then he realizes the value of the effect and agrees. And true to form his assessment of the event was “Bully!”

Figure 1 - TR on a biplane with Arche Hoxsey, the first US President to fly. From the US LOC and in the public domain because of its age.

Figure 1 – TR on a biplane with Arche Hoxsey, the first US President to fly. From the US LOC and in the public domain because of its age.

This entry was posted in History of Photography.