The photographer behind the viral image of Bernie Sanders wearing mittens at Joe Biden’s inauguration says Brendan Smialowski the photo – despite shooting to international fame – is “not that great”.
Brendan Smialowski, who works at the news agency Agence France-Presse, was the one who snapped the iconic image of Sanders sitting in a practical parka and woolen mittens, arms and legs crossed, at the US Capitol on Inauguration Day.
The photo sparked a wave of memes and a reaction from its subject himself, who has now sold meme sweatshirts for charity.
Asked in a recent interview with Rolling Stonewhat his first thought was in reaction to the image, Smialowski said: “The picture itself is not that nice. It’s not a great composition. I’m not going to be putting this in a portfolio.”
Smialowski said he took two photos in that moment – and thought the second one was technically better than the one that went viral.
“But I sent [the famous one] because the moment – his posture, his pose – is a little better,” the photographer added.
“But the composition was garbage. It was messy, but it was a better moment. I always say that in photojournalism, composition comes second to content.”