Photographer, Roberto Schmidt, who took the now infamous pic of Michelle Obama looking mortified while Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt posed for a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, is coming to the first lady’s defense.
“Photos can lie,” writes Schmidt on the AFP blog. “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.”
As we’ve previously determined, funeral selfies are inappropriate, but Schmidt claims the atmosphere was selfie appropriate:
“All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honor their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two. The atmosphere was totally relaxed — I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the U.S. or not…I took these photos totally spontaneously, without thinking about what impact they might have. At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you…For me, the behavior of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural. I see nothing to complain about, and probably would have done the same in their place.”
So, it sounds like we can all stop being outraged about the selfie from Mandela’s memorial and go back to talking about this legacy.