The photographer who snapped this now infamous photo of President Obama and Prime Ministers David Cameron and Helle Thorning-Schmidt posing for a selfie has weighed in: Obama's selfie was "natural" and Michelle Obama's unamused look was just an unamused "resting face." After all, she was joking around too.
The AFP's Roberto Schmidt penned a blog post explaining that President Obama and his prime minister pals weren't committing a grave offense when the three of them decided to act like 16-year-olds and mug for a selfie during a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. (I, again, disagree with my colleague Philip Bump who has erroneously argued that it wasn't technically a selfie.)
Since Schmidt takes photographs for a living, his opinion carries a lot of weight in this arena and he says they were acting in the spirit of the celebration:
At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium. For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural.
He added that Michelle Obama's face of annoyance during the selfie wasn't shade or annoyance, but rather an unamused resting face snapped at one moment in time.
I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture. But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.
So there you have it. Obama's selfie wasn't an egregious offense. Michelle Obama is actually a goofball. And America is not in a death spiral. Though we're still waiting on photos Michelle Obama goofing around to prove this side-eye wasn't what it looked like.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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