The man who took the picture showing President Obama posing for a selfie said Wednesday that the world was getting a very skewed interpretation of his snapshot.
Roberto Schmidt, a photojournalist for Agence France-Presse, caught Obama goofing around with British prime minister David Cameron and Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at the memorial for Nelson Mandela. The moment landed on front pages around the world, with many titles criticizing the leaders for making such a display at a serious event.
Websites everywhere also noticed that Michelle Obama seemed far from pleased at her husband's conduct, and at his laughing conversation with the pretty Thorning-Schmidt.
"It seems that the frosty faced First Lady was so unimpressed with her husband's behavior that she eventually put an end to the fun," the Daily Mail wrote.
Schmidt, though, said that everyone was getting the moment all wrong.
"I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture," he wrote on the AFP blog. "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."
Schmidt also said that Obama's behavior was in keeping with the general mood at the service:
All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honor their departed leader...the atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not.