President Barack Obama


They say every picture tells a story. Although, sometimes the story isn't always accurate.

During Tuesday's memorial service honoring late South African leader Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama was photographed taking a selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

The image immediately went viral, with many calling attention to what appeared to be a disapproving look on the face of Michelle Obama.

However, as Roberto Schmidt, the photographer who captured the moment, wrote on the AFP blog, "Photos can lie."

Schmidt continued, "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 for critics who said it may have been inappropriate for the selfie to have been snapped during the memorial, Schmidt pointed out that it was not a funeral.

"All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honor their departed leader," Schmidt explained. "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."

He added, "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."

Schmidt concluded by saying, "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."

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