The release of First Lady Melania Trump's official portrait has created quite a buzz.
"The White House is announcing the release of the first official portrait of First Lady Melania Trump, taken in her new residence at the White House," said the accompanying White House press release in its entirety.
Several things about the photograph have been the subject of discussion.
Darren Stanton, a body language expert, has offered his opinion on the portrait. He is "recognized by the media as ‘The Human Lie Detector’ thanks to his ability to instantly unravel the tics and tells that give away our lies and deceit that we all think we can hide so well," explains a representative speaker's bureau.
He noted that Melania's arms are in an identical position to a previous portrait of former First Lady Laura Bush, wife of former President George W. Bush, reports the Daily Express.
“Perhaps this is someone she has met and has respect and admiration for as a strong woman," he speculated. "The posture she is adopting would for many body language experts be deemed defensive or a sign of creating a barrier. However, this posture, when attributed to women with the palms of their hands placed on their fore arms, and not tucked in, can be construed as more of a power gesture. She could be asserting her own power saying she is very much her own person.”
He added: “It’s quite a male dominated stance, which is overall saying she’s her own person and wants to be taken seriously. I notice she is also standing square on to the photographer/artist, which is almost as if she’s saying ‘bring it on’. This again is more of a male dominated power gesture.”
Beth Teitell of The Boston Globe also weighed in on the portrait. The first thing she noticed was Melania's giant diamond ring, which she describes as being "worth more than most Americans would make in 10 lifetimes."
Regarding the 25-carat bling, she quotes Kate Andersen Brower, author of a book on first ladies.
“You would think that she, or her handlers, although there aren’t that many, would look at the very prominent placement of this giant diamond ring, and you would think that would give them pause,” Brower said. “The president’s message is about getting jobs for working-class voters.”
On the other hand, she noted, those same working-class voters might see the ring as being something to aspire to.
Teitell also deferred to Boston portrait photographer Ryuji Suzuki, who commented on Melania's gaze. "She is looking at the distance, which is very typical for fashion photography."
Cara Finnegan, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, was also consulted. Finnegan, who is currently writing a book about presidential photography, noted the photo’s generic background.
"The fact that she’s contextless is interesting," Finnegan said, and offered a possible explanation: "If you were to put Melania in the White House in front of a more overtly identifiable background, then you would call up the sense that it’s disingenuous because she doesn’t live there."