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Photoshop & phones: Macron’s official portrait making rounds for all the wrong reasons

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    Emmanuel Macron often makes headlines for political reasons, but the newest buzz surrounding the French president centers on his official portrait. Claims of Photoshopping and a pose which appears to copy Barack Obama are among the long list of criticisms.

    The photo, tweeted by Macron on Thursday, shows the newly-elected French president standing in front of his desk with the sunny lawn of the Élysée Palace in the background.

    The picture quickly gained traction online, but likely not for the reasons Macron expected.

    Many said Macron had been heavily Photoshopped – a claim which a Le Figaro journalist says is true. The reporter, citing an analysis of the photo’s metadata, said the picture had undergone three days’ worth of tweaking.

    One French media outlet claimed Macron’s desk was moved for the photo, to hide the flamboyant design of the presidential office. 

    Some criticized the photo for looking for too similar to the way former US President Barack Obama posed in his official photo – also in front of his desk and a window overlooking a lawn.

    Others noted that there was an “air of Frank Underwood” – Kevin Spacey’s character in the Netflix drama ’House of Cards’ – in the photo.

    Some eagle-eyed viewers zeroed in on two smartphones which can be seen stacked on top of each other on Macron’s desk.

    While it may seem the phones were simply overlooked by the photographer, that isn’t the case.

    A video tweeted by Élysée spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye showed Macron carefully arranging the phones prior to the photo being taken.

    French media have speculated that Macron, a former banker, sought to show the phones to paint himself as a modern, pro-business politician.

    The tweeted footage also showed Macron flipping through one of three books which can be seen in the picture, seemingly looking for a particular page to bookmark and leave open on the desk.

    The three books seen in the photo are Charles de Gaulle’s Memoirs, André Gide’s Fruits of the Earth, and The Red and the Black by Stendhal.

    And lastly, some in the Twittersphere mocked Macron just for the sake of it, Photoshopping his picture in various scenes, from the movie ‘Titanic’ to a miniature player on a foosball table.

    Macron’s official photo will be printed some 50,000 times, and will be placed in city halls, police stations and embassies around France, according to BFM TV. 

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