When a US president shakes hands with another leader it’s pure theatre. These photo ops then become legacy shots –timestamps of a presidency. Just like when Richard Nixon met Zhou Enlai in 1972, now a milestone of a major diplomatic overture.
But these photo ops have a mixed meaning around the time they’re taken. Some seem to do it just for the symbolism – somewhat like teenagers taking selfies in front of a coffee shop to seek validation among their followers.
In my September column, I feature 5 Photo-Ops that have taken on new meaning by now, but have not been treated kindly by history.
- Adolph Hitler and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, 1938
- George W. Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln, 1 May, 2003
- Richard Branson, October 2011
- Dennis Rodman, 2013
- Donald Trump and Kim Kim Jong-Un, 30 June 2019