Roberto Schmidt, a German-Colombian photojournalist based in India, saw a moment worth capturing at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Soweto, South Africa on Tuesday, and capture it he did: the ‘selfie’ taken by President Barack Obama along with two other world leaders and next to a pissed-off seeming Michelle Obama, immediately went viral. Mediaite sure covered it, as did most internet publications, and by early afternoon it was gristle for cable news commentators on both the left and the right—much to Schmidt’s dismay.
“It’s a sign of our times that somehow this image seemed to get more attention than the event itself,” Schmidt wrote on Agence France-Presse’s “Correspondent” blog Wednesday morning.
Schmidt described the moment that caused him to snap the photo, and deflated claims that FLOTUS was signaling her displeasure with the funeral selfie. “Photos can lie,” he wrote (told you so). “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.”
He also told the rest of us retweeters to get over our viral frivolities. “The AFP team worked hard to display the reaction that South African people had for the passing of someone they consider as a father,” Schmidt wrote. “We moved about 500 pictures, trying to portray their true feelings, and this seemingly trivial image seems to have eclipsed much of this collective work…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.”
[Image via AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt]
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