First lady Michelle Obama did not look amused as President Obama posed for a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
The first lady was caught appearing to glare at the president as he posed with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Premier Helle Thorning-Schmidt for a cell phone photo.
The image of the heads of government quickly went viral on Tuesday in the hours after the funeral. Many upbraided the trio for a moment of levity during an otherwise somber memorial.
The first lady’s stern glance seemed only to feed that narrative and by this morning, the story had become one about her dagger-filled stare.
Mrs. Obama has previously been caught on camera seeming to give the president the stink eye. At a luncheon following the president’s second inauguration she was caught on camera rolling her eyes at the president and House Speaker John Boehner.
The AFP photographer who caught Tuesday’s scene in South Africa has come to the first lady’s defense.
“Photos can lie,” Roberto Schmidt wrote on the wire agencies photo blog. “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.”