A guest greets President Obama during the receiving line prior to the State Dinner. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The official White House photographer Pete Souza has this telling photo taken during the meet and greet before the state dinner for President Barack Obama in New Delhi.
Being official anything is difficult but being an official government photographer is even more so because much of what one does is staid officious non-sense. Souza, who is a well-regarded photojournalist, does manage to extract something memorable from time to time from what could easily be a boring assignment.
Although this photo does tell a story, it is not about the coming together of the utterly privileged elite, as represented by Obama’s feet and legs, and the multitude as represented by an Indian man wearing leather flipflops on a pair of feet that may never have seen the inside of a pedicure salon. I say this because in order to be invited to a state dinner anywhere, particularly in a society as conscious of your station in life as the Delhi elite, you have to be a member of the privilegentsia.
In the defense of whomever the feet belong to—I can easily find that out but why bother?—they look generally clean and free from any contagion lurking between them. You do not see calluses or corns, which indicates that the man does take care of his feet. Of course, I do notice the second toe on the left foot has a partially dying nail as you can see in its partial blackening.
At this point I am becoming aware that this post has no particular insights to offer other than some extended caption to a telling photo.