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Trump at G7: How Photos of the Same Scene Can Tell Different Stories

Perhaps the most viral photo on the Internet over the past few days has been this shot of President Trump and other world leaders at the G7 Summit between the heads of the world’s 7 largest economies.

Germany’s View

The photo was captured by Germany’s Official Federal Government photographer, Jesco Denzel, and shared with the world through German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Instagram account.

Denzel’s photo immediately went viral, and it was interpreted as showing the tenseness of the G7 summit and Trump’s attitude towards allies.

“The image easily serves as a sort of Rorschach test for our political moment, open to interpretation by anyone, including many with competing agendas and narratives,” The Atlantic writes. “A number of folks online observed that Trump looked like a defiant child, and Merkel stood in a dominant position.”

US National Security Advisor John Bolton, himself appearing in the photo, offered a different take on the exact same photo:

But what’s interesting are the alternative narratives that emerge through the photos chosen by other countries represented in the photo.

The United States’ View

Photo by Dan Scavino Jr.

Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino Jr., shared this photo showing what the scene looked like from a completely different angle. Trump is portrayed as being at the center of the action, and smiles can be seen on the faces of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe:

Canada’s View

Photo by Adam Scotti/Canadian Prime Minister’s Office
Photo by Adam Scotti/Canadian Prime Minister’s Office

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s official photographer, Adam Scotti, understandably focused on Trudeau (the host leader this year) and his role in facilitating the discussions among the other world leaders.

Italy’s View

Photo credit: Italian Government Photographer

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted a photo showing him reading papers in front of French President Emmanuel Macron and Merkel. Only some of Trump’s hair can be seen in the shot.

France’s View

Photo credit: French Government Photographer.

Macron’s tweeted photo focuses on Macron in the center of world leaders as he speaks to Trump:


“The G-7’s power it seems, lies in the angle of beholder,” Bloomberg writes.

One scene, many takes. It’s like Rashomon on the stage of world politics.


Image credits: Header photo by Jesco Denzel/German Federal Government


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