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The viral photo of Sen. Bernie Sanders sitting with his mittens crossed at the Biden inauguration almost didn’t make history, the photographer who captured the image revealed.
“My lens was originally on somebody else, but out of my other eye I saw him fiddling with his hands and I just very quickly went back to him. I originally thought I had missed it,” Getty Images photographer Brendan Smialowski told Esquire magazine of the now-famous shot.
Smialowski, who has photographed at least four presidential inaugurations, said he knew the image would be quintessentially Bernie.
“I took the picture for a reason; it’s a good slice of life. It trades on who this man is,” he said.
“I think why it’s successful has very little to do with my actual picture, but more to do with Bernie Sanders and his followers and his well-defined image that can carry something like this.”
The photo — which shows Sanders looking less-than-amused, slouching and sitting alone in a folded chair on the inauguration stage — has spawned countless memes in multiple languages, and sold out the Vermont mittens company that makes the pair Sanders wore.
“Thanks for all the interest in Bernie’s mittens! It truly has been an amazing and historic day! I’m so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration. Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on ETSY who make them,” knitter Jen Ellis tweeted Wednesday.
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