Michael David Murphy
While Seated
Published in
3 min readAug 9, 2016


IMG_8145 — How out-of-focus does a photo need to be to become a photo about forgetfulness?
20160726 — I made this video of the guy using an old 8x10 (can’t tell if it’s gotta digital sensor or not) to do a panorama rotation at the DNC. Thought it was an odd, anachronistic moment. Fun to see this vid posted around and people talking about it.
20160801 — Back in 2011, I had Instagram and some weird workflow that date-stamped each photo I posted. I came across this one in an archived folder (I’ve long since deleted all but one photo on my account) because it’s a photo of Trump svengali Roger Stone and his Tricky Dick back tattoo, which we’ve all unfortunately seen a lot of in the last six months.
And then when you search for more images of Roger Stone’s back tattoo, you get a bonus alumni update from 1976 JEB!
20160801 — Another odd one was finding this photo of Bernie Sanders I posted on December 12th, 2010 — clearly a screengrab — the caption’s been lost, but Bernie was doing something great back then, filibustering some senseless legislation, doing his thing, tilting at windmills.
20160801 — In 2008, I would have been hard pressed to come-up with the term “white privilege” when describing or talking about this photo I made at an Edwards rally in South Carolina — I just knew it was depicting a difficult interaction, a leapfrogging, of sorts. It’s a difficult dynamic to photograph, right there, as it happens, in the moment. Eight years later, it’s hard to see this photo any other way. What does “white privilege” look like, photographically, to you?
20160801 — This was a high-water mark for me in terms of looking at Snapchat. Great to see Alec Soth’s effort for TIME, reposted here, on his own YouTube channel.
20160803 — If you, like me, appreciated the roll calls of the conventions, in that they’re a purer expression of America and American-ness than the speeches themselves, you might have wondered what it would look like to make 50 diptychs that visually represent the differences between the RNC and DNC. Here’s one of my favorites, above. Thanks, Wyoming! Divided America — In Fifty Diptychs
20160806 — Not a hole-in-one from 161 yards, but close.

20160808 — In 2016, it’s getting harder to understand “escapism” and why so much of culture turns to things like Game of Thrones for entertainment (see: soothing and pacification), when the world feels like it’s continuously eclipsing yesterday’s peak of unbelievable reality.

While I don’t understand the escapist impulse — cosplay? Really? (Why play a fake superhero when you could spend your time trying to become a real superhero?) I have been taken-in by a few examples of fiction that purported to be real.

Benjamen Walker’s “Theory of Everything” has a recurring guest who blends fiction with the undeniably real. It’s so good that I was once completely fooled — by a story in which the guest recounted an interaction with Mark Zuckerberg and his Zuckerberg bobble-head doll.

Great blend of reality, fiction and expert storytelling, from ToE’s “special correspondent”, Chris, at the beginning of the episode.

This week, ToE’s “Chris” made another appearance, linking the very real August, 2016 situation of ISIS & the threat of a Trump presidency, with the fantasy of Dubuque as an Al-Qaeda stronghold.

It’s an incredulous yarn, as ridiculous and unbelievable as it sounds, but relayed in such an easy-breezy way, you can’t help but think you’re listening to something true.

I’ve been blabbering about this consistently, apparently! Quoting myself because I don’t have to ask permission:

Truth (or the appearance of this nebulous, collectively-agreed-upon thing that’s usually called “truth”) exerts a kind of gravity that draws us in, makes us want to do to the extra work to know more and care.

20160805MDM (Because that’s what you do when you’re with your man at a Trump rally in Daytona.)
20160805MDM (I took the audio from the real track, sync’d it with the sound coming out of Obama’s aide’s phone, and there you go, our President getting fired-up, pre-gaming at the DNC.


20160806 — Canvassing for Colorado Public Interest Research Group should have slid into the spot between 3 and 4, bumping “lighthouse keeper” outta the first 7, which is a bummer.
20160806 — So fascinated by this lil’ Trumper and the boundless expression of his non-vertically challenged thumbs, I wrote-up: 23 Ways of Looking at a Trump Fan (in GIFs). Just another photographer who’s as interested in all the existing pictures and footage in the world as I am in my own photographs.
…or you can just skip the GIFs and watch the video.
20160808 — It’s fascinating to see how the mind remembers and mis-remembers, especially when influenced by a confluence of imagery, from both stills and video. I have a memory of watching the finish of the women’s Olympic road race in 1984 on television, but in my mind, I see (and remember it) in the crystal-clarity of the left, as Steve Powell photographed that day from just passed the finish line. I don’t remember the crane-view from the TV broadcast at all (thanks, YouTube!). Probably because I never re-watched the footage (we wouldn’t have had a VCR in ’84) and I spent all my time looking at cycling magazines, which would have published a photo like Steve Powell’s. Pretty great moment for American cycling, and when coupled with Alexi Grewal’s sparkling win in the men’s race, kicked-off thousands of rides of budding cyclists.
20160808 — When does a red state become a blue state? When the state legislature flips, or when the state goes for a Dem in the Presidential general election? (Asking for a friend who’s a red-state stranded liberal, which gives him outsized pride and unwarranted smugness over New Yorkers and Californians.)
20160808–[Screenshot of abandoned tweet-draft.]
20160809 — Drill, baby. Drill! [Screenshot]
20160809 — Long tail with a whip-crack [Screenshot]