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Press photographers are shown here taking pictures of President Ronald Reagan during a “photo-opportunity.” These formal photography sessions scheduled by the White House staff dated back to the 1930s, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s press secretary instructed photographers to avoid showing the polio-afflicted President in a wheelchair. Under the Reagan Administration, however, photographic access to the President was controlled and orchestrated to virtually guarantee that no unflattering or negative picture would be recorded. Believing that the “look” was more important than the meaning of an event, White House staff dictated the time, place and even the angle-of-vision of “photo-ops.” The resulting pictures helped shape a positive, upbeat image of Reagan for the public.

Source: National Archives.