This photo of Bernie Sanders was taken at President Biden’s inauguration. It is funny because Bernie is underdressed for the occasion, and he appears to be alone and forgotten (when in actuality he is quite famous). It also is a metaphor for his own underdog presidential runs.
A picture is worth a thousand Berns. And in this case, more like 100,000 memes. Sander’s image (including the chair) was quite easy to separate from the white and relatively featureless background, and so people started pasting it into other backgrounds.
As per reports, Smialowski, the Washington D.C.-based photographer who was working the inauguration behalf of the global news agency AFP, isn’t a stranger to having a front row seat to history or even going viral, but his shot of Sanders has served as a unique lighthearted respite during a lead-up that was anything but. The eye behind the iconic shot spoke to Esquire about the photo that inspired the masses.
The photographer has even revealed that even though Sanders appeared grumpy, he had been talking to people at the ceremony and wasn’t sitting alone the entire time.
The image worked as a funny juxtaposition in so many situations that the lots of people started making #berniemittens memes, and many others enjoyed and shared them, so the whole thing went viral.