A photograph of US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden meeting former president Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter has sparked confusion on social media – as the Bidens look frankly gigantic.
The photograph was released by The Carter Center after the current occupants had visited the Carters in Plains, Georgia last Thursday. Jimmy Carter is the oldest living former president and has been a long term ally of Biden and the Democrats.
However, that isn’t the story here.
If you’ve been on Twitter in the past few hours you’ll have probably seen this image floating around, which shows the Bidens kneeling down to have their photos taken with the Carters, who are both seated in armchairs.
Yet there is something off about the photos. Both Joe and Jill appear to be about three times larger than everything else around them, like whenever Gandalf visited Frodo’s house in Lord of the Rings.
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Folks on Twitter were left completely baffled by the picture which was described as ‘Lynchian’ (after acclaimed avant-garde movie director David Lynch) and it swiftly became a meme.
In all seriousness, what is going on here? Did the Bidens get their hands on some Pym Particles or are the Carters turning into Borrowers?
For once, this isn’t an internet prank but an optical illusion created by the camera lens with which the photo was taken. The photo was likely taken with a wide-angle lens to get all four people in as well as the backdrop. Wide angles are often used when there isn’t enough space in a room for a photographer to use a standard lens. In addition to this, the photographer was possibly not too far away from the subjects, which has caused the image to become distorted, as per the Guardian.
The Washington Post added that the photo appears to have been taken with a strong flash, which has eradicated any strong shadows and further reduced the depth of the image and made the Bidens look considerably bigger than that Carters, particularly in the case of the president, who looks to be towering over Rosalynn.
Another potential factor is that Jimmy Carter, despite being 5ft 10, always had a slim build as he liked to maintain his fitness through running and skiing. Even at the age of 96, he still reportedly swims every day at their private ranch in Georgia. That being said, that wouldn’t be enough to turn him into a Hobbit, especially next to Jill, who is 5ft 6.
Anyway, our commiserations to the photographer who is probably frantically photoshopping a new version as we speak