Obama-Selfie Photog: Photo Furor 'Says Something About Our Society'

Roberto Schmidt says the mass speculation that occurred from his photo was "crazy."
3:00 | 12/11/13

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Transcript for Obama-Selfie Photog: Photo Furor 'Says Something About Our Society'
This is a special room. I'm Dan -- -- -- -- ABC news digital special reports they were the shots seen round the world President Obama along with British prime minister David Cameron. And a photographer Denmark's prime minister -- arrangements posing together smiling broadly for. Of course the -- during the Nelson Mandela memorial event in Johannesburg South Africa and then. There was this a wider angle. Some narrow -- though from the First Lady Michelle Obama. Was she angry Arabs the president even the Danish prime minister there was some speculation. On response to those pictures. So help clear up exactly what is going on behind those pictures the man who took those pictures -- -- meant the AFP photographer who captured. Those images and wrote a blog. Posting this morning explaining that there was a little more than meets the diver -- thanks -- with us today we appreciate it. Identity. So let me ask you this and how does what we've seen from your photographs differed from what you -- from what you experienced. -- Well I think this just like overblown buzz on. What Michelle -- owners Steve Bailey and which really nobody really knows -- but. Minutes before this -- Hewitt is and you don't have to be speaking with where -- -- -- -- mr. chairman so. I didn't see anything that. That would the you to think you know she was mad about it or whatever but I think that's the question you know and should be asked her -- -- I can answer. Well when you were there you actually saw the event those taking place in a lot of activity was going on and now that you're looking at the pictures you have a different response -- of interpretation from that moment and now. -- no 100 I mean it's a moment you know who do you hope people interpreted. You know that's really there's -- choice I think this whole thing -- overblown. Let me ask -- -- -- because you wrote today in a -- just -- air show little bit about what you had said in response to this. Suddenly this woman pulled out her mobile phone and took a photo of herself smiling with Cameron and the US president. I captured this scene reflexively all around me in the stadium south Africans were dancing singing and laughing to honor their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another -- the atmosphere was totally relaxed I didn't see anything shocking in my view finder. President of the United States or not we are in Africa and it and I wanted to ask you that referral about -- that that last statement there we are in Africa what do you mean by that. Well when you know in Africa people -- -- But there was somebody there -- -- their leader. With a very light hearted. In -- lighthearted way they were dancing and singing. Regular starters on the right word went you know there were just. There he and all and very lightly. So very different and how we do it may be -- and other countries. Africa it was beautiful to see you speak highly celebrated you know that that's the passing of rounds -- leaders. What were you surprised and obviously you know the -- cash catching a very special moment if it were you surprised by how this has snowballed into so much attention. Absolutely. It's -- our veterans. I guess it says something about our society and what we focus on where we choose to focus on. Yeah its a shame. As a new -- -- that you know yesterday we moved. On the -- like 500 images and you know -- among those are some really nice nice to see images that capture. You don't -- We went south Africans the way they were celebrating -- passing on their leader and it's a shame that picture like this you know an -- Let me ask you this has because there there are seen to be. Two veins that grabbed the attention one was that the tight shot of the actual -- -- itself and that it was the wider shot that we shown. On about the first lady's response her facial expression on there. There's been some debate obviously about the decision to take -- -- in the first place that perhaps. That was not the the proper venue -- that you're saying that that -- -- the atmosphere and given the kind of feeling that that in fact. It's difficult to kind of see it that way. Well I don't know when we covered it to stay and in different venues you know and whenever they're together -- -- degree each other they talk to each other they think they seek an opportunity to talk you know among themselves. And I think this Muslim of those times -- -- it was brazen than in in -- ceremony you know music -- and stuff and a solo I didn't I really didn't think it was shocking error. It -- -- -- -- little let me ask this because obviously -- especially you know as your job requires your capturing moments. And it could be an event such as yesterday's work goes on four plus hours. And so when you capture that one single second at one particular moment do you feel about it it's. It's difficult to then explained that particular moment because that was just such. Small. Portion of time. Well let's just one -- I mean that was the only image removed you know that we will referenda and other images isn't. You know if you take everything together -- it shows you exactly what happened and this was one of the things happen so yeah it's it's part of it was part of what happened we were documenting what -- As every discussion -- with your editors at AFP as far as how this was going to play out in other media outlets. No I think it. It took everybody took us by surprise that you know this this could this be true -- and legs which. And it happened just in a brief second riot. Yes it was a matter of seconds the I don't know maybe ten and fifteen seconds. You know when a -- -- didn't along speaks for somebody to you know allowed. A cell phone and take a -- and then -- left a little bit about it and then dollars and. And of course other pictures that everyone is talking about -- And we do have those images right here on ABC news dot conference on -- -- New York. With this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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