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Picture Atlas List 

Euro Hairdo

Source: Der Standard, 2 January 2003, p. 2 © APA-IMAGES/epa

Original Caption
"Some euro-enthusiasts even resorted to hair-cuts the year before."

Picture Analysis
Every topic needs a headline, in the present case there are even two. Caption and photograph are side by side as if they had come together in the same place on the newspaper page to measure their relative strengths, that of the word against that of the picture. "Almost half of all Europeans still convert the euro", announces the text, while the photo shows if not exactly the opposite then certainly something clearly different: There are people who have euro signs cut into their hair-do by the hair-dresser.

Strengths cannot be measured against each other if there are no fundamental things in common: Both the photo and the article belong to a genre that could be described as "everyday reactions of citizens to big political decisions." From this perspective it almost seems as if word and picture complement each other: What the report does not say - the introduction of the euro did not only cause cost, trouble and worry - the picture shows, and vice versa. It is fitting that the rest of the page is also dominated by the idea of balance: The article matching the picture is completed by a second one in which the topic is a fixed price structure after the introduction of the euro as well as the end of exchange rate risks and associated competitive distortions. How could "One Year of the Euro" be balanced except with an accounting of profits and losses?

But word and picture are not so neutral after all in regard to one another: First of all the caption under the photo gives us an unambiguous point of time ("Some euro-enthusiasts even resorted to hair-cuts the year before"), and secondly this plays into the hands of the lead article: The superscript over the picture features a difference between expectation and reality: "The new currency (...) is not yet as well-liked as the EU wishes." If the photo thus documents the exuberance of initial enthusiasm, the article subjects this to a sober criticism. One could also say that the layout of the page makes sure that the realism of the written word provides an answer to the excess shown in the photograph, without which the reading of the article would appear only half as attractive. One might be tempted to call this constellation iconoclastic if the Standard on 2 January 2006 had not put to rest a ghost that it had called forth with the choice of the photo: That of an all too obvious Euro-propaganda.

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