is “not that great”, says Brendan Smialowski

1 min read
AFP Brendan Smialowski
AFP photographer Brendan Smialowski who took Bernie Sanders mittens utopian magazine

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.”