The attention given to a photo showing President Barack Obama taking a selfie and Michelle Obama‘s supposed reaction to it at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service has given way to a bit of sadness for the man who took the picture.

On Wednesday, AFP photo journalist Roberto Schmidt said that he’s sad that such a trivial moment has eclipsed the emotion of the ceremony.

“I guess it’s a sign of our times that somehow this image seemed to get more attention than the event itself. Go figure,” Schmidt wrote on a blog about the taking of the Obama photo.

The picture, which included Obama, UK prime minister David Cameron and Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt taking a photo of themselves on Thorning-Schmidt’s smartphone halfway through the four-hour ceremony, has since gone viral on social media and spawned a thousand reaction stories from the media.

The photo was one of many taken by Schmidt, who decided to follow Obama’s movements through his telephoto lens after the president’s “stirring eulogy”

“I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating,” said the photographer, who noted how the atmosphere at the FNB Stadium was “totally relaxed.” “For me, the behavior of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural.”

Nevertheless, the significance of the memorial was something Schmidt and his AFP colleagues made sure to capture.

“The AFP team worked hard to display the reaction that South African people had for the passing of someone they consider as a father,” he added. “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.”

In addition to commenting on the selfie photo, Schmidt put to bed talk surrounding Michelle Obama’s stony-faced appearance in the picture. Rumors surrounding the First Lady’s appearance have been highlighted on Twitter and some web sites, which stated that it was due to jealously at the attention the blonde-haired Thorning-Schmidt was receiving.

“Photos can lie,” Schmidt said regarding the pic. “In reality, just a few seconds earlier the First Lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Thorning-Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.”

(Photo: AP)

7 thoughts on “Obama Selfie Photographer: You Got Michelle’s Look All Wrong

  1. And the same thing would be said that is is no big deal. Mandela was 95 years old and people were preparing for his death. President Obama did not disgrace no one. The only ones who are a disgrace are the people who are trying to make a big deal about this. People take pictures at funerals everyday (And that include conservatives as well). I would say the same even if it was a white republican. Look at George Bush, he was laughing and talking to a woman as well while Laura Bush sat there.

  2. royalty1022 on said:

    So true. I was watching the Wendy Williams show last night and she was talking down about the President taking a selfie and first lady Michelle being the ” angry BlackWoman and how she needs to change her demeanor. One thing her parents didn’t seem to teach is when to keep her big-ass mouth shut. How disrespectful of her to say that she heard that the president was known for flirting!! That cow will say anything for ratings but she says nothing about her cheating husband….

    • royalty1022 on said:

      I was really surprised at Wendy Williams using stereotypes and dissapptd. I thought she had more class about herself! Just totally disgusting stating rumors when you don’t even know the whole story!! Why even put that lie out there without any thought for the family!!. I think I gave you more credit than you deserve!!!

      • Wendy has NEVER had class. She is trash. Michelle does not look angry if you look at the picture good. Even if she is mad, so what. We all get angry. ALso, Mandela was a 95 year old man who death was expected. People take pictures at funerals all the time. People love to make a big deal about nothing.

  3. the Timekeeper on said:

    Thank you for setting the record straight. But this wont change the mind of all those “2nd Timothy 3:6” type women who were bidding to join the Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ted Cruz and Bill O’Reliy fan club by besmirching as much hateful and gender bashing rhetoric they could think of on President Obama. these self described “sistas” did so much neck rolling, hand on hip twisitng, finger popping and male bashing that they probablt need a Chirpractor today to work out the kinks. One even used the trem “Stand your ground, Michelle” as if we didnt hear enough of that shiggidy with George Zimmerman. It wouuld have been funny if it werent so tragic. Obama dnest need to have the GOP against him, ’cause he’s already got the SWA doing their dirty work

    • Who cares what people at FOXNews think. It is clear they are a bias network when it comes to the president, certain actors and musicians,etc. I think MOST good thinking people understand what President Obama was ok; however, the dirt diggers are going to be the one to get the attention and talk.

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