On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump officially became the 45th President of the United States of America, succeeding Barack Obama. The new White House team thus deleted all traces of the former Democratic President from online communications and replaced them with those of the Republican.
The presidential Flickr account has been emptied of all the famous photos by Pete Souza and the White House website is now completely transformed. WhiteHouse.gov has taken on the colors of Trump, and in the "Adminstration" section, a first official portrait of the President has appeared. The photographer is currently unknown.
And oh, what a portrait! The choice is rather surprising. A far cry from the smooth skin and bright smiles we typically see in US publicity photos, this image shows Trump looking quite sullen. Even his positioning seems strange – his shoulders are scrunched up and tight, he looks cranky and miserable.
His posture, showing all the tell-tale signs of insecurity, is not really appropriate for a presidential portrait, which is supposed to reflect solemnity and strength. The expression on his face is also disturbing and unfriendly, with the squinting eyes of someone feeling suspicious. His unfixed gaze and angry brow make it look like he's trying to pass an eye exam, concentrating hard to make out the rows of letters.
A cold, blue tint
With no hint of a smile and a tense face, his expression is quite simply chilling. This icy impression is reinforced by the odd white balance in the image: it's got a blue tint giving it a particularly cold light.
The photographer probably chose to go with extra blue to balance out the orange color of the President, an avid fan of self-tanner and terracotta.
The proportions of the photo are also unusual – his left arm is cut off and the framing is too tight, leaving little room for the symbols of the country in the background: The White house and the US flag. Just like his ego, Trump's silhouette takes up way too much space.
After passing over the inevitable red tie, the viewer's gaze is drawn to the flag pin which seems unbelievably blurry, even though it's at the same distance as his tie, which couldn't be more in focus. It's possible the flag pin was added in post.
In short, the portrait is a big fail, and certainly not of the quality we would expect for someone holding the highest office in the land. A surprising choice coming from the supposedly shrewd businessman-turned-President.