Photographer Of Viral Bernie Sanders Picture: ‘I’m Not Going To Be Putting This In A Portfolio’

(Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images)

Mecca Fowler Contributor
Font Size:

The photographer behind an Inauguration Day photo of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has mixed feelings about the widespread obsession with his most recent viral creation.

Brendan Smialowski, a photojournalist for Agence France-Presse (AFP), captured the picture showing Sanders socially-distanced, sitting with his arms and legs crossed in a warm jacket and large mittens.  It quickly became the most trending subject on Twitter.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Smialowski said that he didn’t anticipate that his photo would blow up the way that it did.

“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, according to Rolling Stone. 

Twitter users photoshopped the image of Sanders into famous paintings, classic album covers, and historical photographs.

Actor Ice Cube shared a popular edit inserting Sanders onto the set of his classic movie “Friday.” (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Inauguration Sweatshirt Sells Out, All Proceeds Going To Charity)

Smialowski is used to the attention, as this was not his first viral photograph

In 2017, a photo he captured of then-senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway sitting on her knees on a couch in the Oval Office was widely circulated online, according to Vanity Fair.

“Honestly, I am one of those guys who is very lucky,” Smialowski said, according to The News-Times. “I have a job that I not only enjoy but believe in.”

Smialowski didn’t notice the buzz the photo created until later when his social media notifications and e-mails from his colleagues started coming in. However, the photojournalist said he appreciated the clear amount of effort put into some photoshopped creations, according to CNBC.