Hillary Clinton has admitted that the infamous picture of her with a shocked expression during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound actually depicts her during a coughing fit.
The former Secretary of State told reporters that the picture taken in the White House showing her hand covering her mouth (as if gasping in horror) was actually the face of someone struggling with a coughing it.
“I am somewhat sheepishly concerned that it was my preventing one of my early spring allergic coughs,” she told reporters in Rome on Thursday. “So, it may have no great meaning whatsoever.”
According to CBS News, the cough explanation may not go over well with photography experts, who found Clinton’s expression the perfect focal point for a dramatic picture:
In a series of interviews about the image conducted by Women’s Wear Daily, a number of top photo editors cited Clinton’s expression as the most powerful element of the photograph.
“The Hillary Clinton expression is the one that holds the photograph fully,” said Kira Pollack, Time’s director of photography. “The reaction of her hand over her face. Her eyes. Clearly, she’s reacting to something she’s watching.”
“To me, the whole image is about Hillary,” Pollack added. “In some ways, she holds the image. You look at her first, and then you look at everyone else.”