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Macron’s official presidential photo captures political balancing act


Barely two months after he assumed office, French President Emmanuel Macron posted his official presidential portrait on Twitter Thursday. The photograph, in many ways, mirrors his political ideas.


Flanked by the French tricolor and the EU flag, his hands firmly gripping the table against which he leans with semi-official, semi-casual nonchalance, Macron smiles confidently for the camera.

Photographed by Soazig de la Moissonnière, a 35-year-old French photographer, the official presidential photo features Macron in an indoor setting, but with a view of the presidential garden visible from an open window.

The prominent display of the EU flag, as well as the delicate balancing of an indoor-outdoor setting, in a half-sitting, half-standing position in many ways exemplified the new French president’s EU-committed, centrist message.

Library or garden – or both?

France has a long tradition of official presidential photographs, which are hung in public offices and buildings across the country.

Since the birth of the Fifth Republic in 1958, the choice of setting has been either the presidential library or garden. Macron’s predecessor, François Hollande, opted for a garden shot after he sworn into office in 2012. The attempted look was “the normal guy” that Hollande promised the French people after the “bling-bling” of the Nicolas Sarkozy era.

But Hollande’s official photograph sparked barbs on social media sites, with critics noting that Hollande looked “lost in his garden”.

Sarkozy, on the other hand, opted for the presidential library – as did François Mitterrand and Charles de Gaulle.

The Fifth Republic’s youngest president, however, has gone for an indoor-outdoor look which, critics would charge, personifies his neither here-nor-there position on the left-right ideological divide.

Early reactions were mixed on social media sites, with some users noting that the photograph was “ok” but the president “could have done better”. A few Americans on Twitter though sounded envious. “Why does France get the cool, good looking guy? And we get…well, Trump,” said one disconsolate American.


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