As far as we all know, Democratic President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are people of normal size. So, to our knowledge, are former Democratic President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
But if a recent photo is to be believed, one of these couples has been lying to us all their lives.
Because a shot taken during a visit between the two couples shows that either the Bidens are giants, or the Carters are tiny miniature people.
Or maybe both?
We’re pleased to share this wonderful photo from the @POTUS and @FLOTUS visit to see the Carters in Plains, Ga.!… https://t.co/oNUxv9P7TW— The Carter Center (@The Carter Center) 1620093890.0
Seriously what is going on here?
Are the Bidens actual fairy-tale giants? We need an official investigation, the American people have a right to know!
It turns out there's a very simple explanation. No, the staff at the Carter Center, the former President's human rights charity which released the photo, are not a bunch of Photoshop-happy memelords.
Rather, it's just an optical illusion.
As many have noted, the most likely culprit is a wide-angle lens, which was probably used in order to be able to get all four people in the same frame in a small space—like the setting here, the living room of the Carters' Plains, Georgia home.
But wide-angle lenses sort of "bend" the image, if you will—which is why they're usually only used at significant distance. When used close up, as it was here, that "bend" distorts the size of the people and objects in the image.
Objects closer to the camera are enlarged, which is why the Bidens loom large and President Carter's feet are apparently three times the size of his noggin.
The photo also appears to have been taken with a very strong flash—hence the absence of any shadows in the picture—which has further eroded the depth of the image.
Put it all together, and you get one President and First Lady who look straight out of Jack and the Beanstalk, and another pair who look like born-and-raised Lilliputians—from Gulliver's Travels, not Liverpool, England.
Naturally, the internet had a field day with the image.
@CarterCenter @POTUS @FLOTUS There. I fixed it. https://t.co/dmjLiX3oXk— 🌊 Deonardo La Vinci 🌊 (@🌊 Deonardo La Vinci 🌊) 1620100555.0
also btw Joe and Jill Biden are GIANTS https://t.co/2OAIR199Y7— Queen Leigh (@Queen Leigh) 1620095897.0
Filing under "why we don't use the ultrawide lens indoors" https://t.co/z9hndNIefG— Jared Holt (@Jared Holt) 1620098819.0
Overused term but this is actually Lynchian https://t.co/UuFsUuSoWo— Mr. Chau (@Mr. Chau) 1620094390.0
https://t.co/aB0UJWCTOi— Josh Billinson (@Josh Billinson) 1620129634.0
I feel like I’m in a Lovecraft story gazing upon impossible geometry https://t.co/7gWBrz6HSZ https://t.co/CXRpr6ujSI— Justin Whang 🐙 (@Justin Whang 🐙) 1620105683.0
I am completely sober but I looked at this photo and ... am I high??? Jill Biden's got like three feet and 80 pound… https://t.co/YmOjH2XEDf— Samantha Swindler (@Samantha Swindler) 1620098633.0
I feel like I'm losing my mind. Why is Jimmy Carter 3 feet tall? https://t.co/rrmRqGdOBc— Jeffrey Brain of CloutHub (@Jeffrey Brain of CloutHub) 1620108209.0
Just a reminder that the Bidens got the vaccine before most of us, and they have already grown to 1.5x the size of… https://t.co/PZCtXcP9qW— Josh Jordan (@Josh Jordan) 1620104276.0
I have questions about this remake of The Hobbit. https://t.co/dFP9hqMsfd— Jeet Heer (@Jeet Heer) 1620098286.0
So there's your photography lesson for the day.
Save the wide-angle lenses for sweeping outdoor landscapes unless you want to spend an afternoon Photoshopping your subjects and their feet down to less-terrifying sizes.