At times, even the complete picture does not do justice to reality. This is what appears to have happened in the case of the ‘Titanic embrace’ photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande that went viral on Tuesday.
When Modi greeted Hollande in Chandigarh’s Rock Garden on Monday, The Hindu’s photographer Akhilesh Kumar clicked a series of pictures in quick succession. But the image he finally chose to release for use looked like Modi was embracing Hollande from the back. The photo was immediately picked up social media platforms, with several memes doing the rounds on Twitter.
"Boss, Dadar nahin utarna hai toh thoda side ho jaao!" pic.twitter.com/H3giQZszBO— Aisi Taisi Democracy (@AisiTaisiDemo) January 24, 2016
New level in bilateral ties unlocked pic.twitter.com/Q3Rh9FMZjm— Taz (@xtahzy) January 24, 2016
Wen u dans in d sangeat evn tho ur nt dat gud pic.twitter.com/qciz9Fc3fm— Rohan (@mojorojo) January 24, 2016
A video of the hug, however, tells a different tale.
“Modi was just positioning Hollande as the photographers asked the French President to move to the right for a better background,” Kumar told Hindustan Times.
The photo started trending globally after The Washington Post published an online piece titled “Narendra Modi won’t stop hugging world leaders no matter how awkward it is”. A Google search showed that close to 50 stories were published about the photo by both big and small news outlets.
“Whenever we shoot a picture, we shoot many shots in succession. And in the process, there are some pictures you capture unknowingly which turn out to convey a different meaning; sometimes it becomes comic,” Kumar said.
This is not the first time such a situation has arisen. “When Modi was in Capital Complex with the French President, I clicked a photo of him. Suddenly, Modi turned back to address the Punjab governor and Hollande walked ahead. With Modi looking backward and Hollande walking forward, it looked hilarious. These things happen and they depend on the composition and the moment you choose to capture.”