The Getty Images photographer who snapped the selfie seen around the world says First Lady Michelle Obama was not upset with President Barack Obama.
Roberto Schmidt’s infamous photo went viral on social networking websites on Tuesday. The photo shows Obama snapping a ‘selfie’ with himself and the Danish Prime Minister during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg.
Many critics slammed Obama for not maintaining decorum and dignity at such a solemn occasion.
Others assumed Mrs. Obama’s pinched facial expression indicated disapproval of the president’s childish behavior.
But the photographer disputed the reports.
“Obama took his place amid these leaders who’d gathered from all corners of the globe,” Schmidt wrote on the global news agency blog, AFP.com. “Among them was British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as a woman … I later learned was the Danish Prime Minister.”
Continued Schmidt: “Suddenly this woman pulled out her mobile phone and took a photo of herself smiling with Cameron and the U.S. president. I captured the scene reflexively. All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader.”
He added: “I read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved … but photos can lie,” Schmidt blogged. “Just a few seconds earlier, the First Lady was herself joking … Her stern look was captured by chance.”
Schmidt defended the president’s behavior.
“I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings,” Schmidt wrote, “like me and you.”
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