This photo is hugely popular.
Getty Images announced this month that this photo of Donald Trump smirking and shrugging was its most downloaded image from the U.S. election.
It was shot in Dallas back in September 2015, well before Americans knew that the brash business man would secure his party’s nomination. As Getty — one of the world’s leading photo agencies, with clients in media, advertising/design and the corporate world — tells it, “Since it was so early on, photographers weren’t yet restricted by Trump’s campaign on where they could shoot from.”
Why was this particular image of Trump so popular? It may, of course, be due to Trump’s popularity: 40% of voters say they support Trump, according to the latest WSJ/NBC poll. Plus, much of the media coverage of the election focused on Trump: “Trump is getting outsized attention,” wrote The Atlantic in September — even more than Hillary Clinton.
It may also have to do with the face Trump is making, which the photographer, Tom Pennington, told Getty that he was trying to highlight: Trump is “very animated in the way he wrinkles his face and with the expressions he makes…I wanted to put emphasis on this.”
The photo (and Trump’s expression in it) “plays into the idea that Trump is a kind of clown figure,” says Fabio Rojas, a professor of sociology at Indiana University — a notion that has been repeated in the media. For example, Seth Meyers called Trump a clown on “Late Night” and the Washington Post featured a clown-like cartoon of Trump, and an opinion piece in The Week called him a “sad clown” — while Jon Stewart used a moniker that was far less flattering.
For his part, Trump “is not a typical candidate and he knows it,” says Rojas. “He plays a jokester role and he knows it, he says outrageous things.” This picture, he adds, “captures that well.”
David Jacobs, a professor emeritus of sociology at Ohio State University says Trump’s expression also hints that he doesn’t really know what’s going on — which is what some people on the left think about him anyway. Pieces in the Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Salon and other publications hint — and sometimes flat-out say — that he doesn’t know the things a president should.
Many say just the opposite. On Fox News’ “Hannity,” one guest called Trump’s Republican National Convention speech “brilliant” and back in February, Bill O’Reilly said that Trump’s strategy has “been brilliant.”
The photo’s popularity may also have to do with the fact that its a “well-done picture,” says Rojas. It’s “uncluttered,” has Trump — who, he adds, is “an interesting-looking person” — in the middle of the frame, and it shows him with a unique expression on this face, he explains.
View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-an-election-competition-donald-trump-has-won-2016-11-08