A picture may be worth 1000 words, but context is everything. Roberto Schmidt, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer who took the infamous selfie photo, was surprised to hear about the criticism behind what he referred to as a reflexive shot. Here is some of what he wrote on the AFP blog:
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.
It was interesting to see politicians in a human light because usually when we see them it is in such a controlled environment. Maybe this would not be such an issue if we, as the press, would have more access to dignitaries and be able to show they are human as the rest of us.
I confess too that it makes me a little sad we are so obsessed with day-to-day trivialities, instead of things of true importance.
Why would anyone attend a state funeral, then take selfies with their BFF politicos for all to see? President Barack Obama (pictured) somehow managed to get in a selfie at the memorial service of former South African president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg with two other world leaders and in one shot, First Lady Michelle (pictured) is apparently none too pleased. Now the cheesing Kodak moment images of Obama, as he poses with British Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured left)and Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (pictured center) in one shot—and in the other, Michelle gives off the ‘wait til we get home’ glare—are being criticized as totally inappropriate, according to The Guardian.
Mandela, a global political icon and highly revered leader in the struggle to abolish apartheid in his country, passed away at age 95 on December 5th.
Obama is shown holding the Smartphone along with Thorning-Schmidt at arm’s length to take the photo. Mrs. Obama is photographed watching the service. Another photo depicts the First Lady giving the president and Denmark’s prime minister the death stare as she gazes upon their “inappropriate” antics at the solemn affair.
The latest incident comes on the heels of Obama’s controversial handshake with Cuban president Raul Castro at the Mandela memorial which created waves internationally. The highly criticized handshake between the two Cold War adversaries came as the president was greeting a line of world leaders attending the memorial. It’s been some 50 years since the U.S. and Cuba have had diplomatic relations since the small island turned its government into a communist regime led by Raul’s brother, Fidel Castro.