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With Body Language Like This, Who Needs a Caption?

INSERT DESCRIPTIONDoug Mills/The New York Times

I was struck by the photo above, which accompanied a Times article about President-elect Obama‘s first news conference.

Not only does it give us a good look at many of Obama’s economic advisers, but it’s a great study of photo-taking body language. Many photographers I know have nicknames for the way people stand when they’re having their pictures taken, and in this picture you can see just about every option:

The “fig leaf” pose (hands coupled and held in front) as exhibited here by Joe Biden, Larry Summers, and others; the “toy soldier” pose (hands stiffly at sides) as exhibited by William Donaldson (far left); what looks to be the “hands-in-pocket” pose, by Paul Volcker, to the immediate right of the podium; and, although you can’t see it in this photo (I saw it in another photo of the event that I can no longer locate), the “firing squad” pose (hands behind back) exhibited by Bob Rubin, who in this photo is mostly hidden behind Biden.

But the real outlier here is Rahm Emanuel, hands on hips, eyes scanning the room, looking ready to intervene in any way necessary. What shall we call this pose? “Football coach”? “Bad cop”? Or, as some have said of Emanuel, “absolute enforcer”?