Coco Rocha Helpfully Explains and Recreates That Bidens-Carters Photo

The Bidens dwarfing the Carters
Photo by Adam Schultz, White House photographer

In case you missed it, the Bidens recently paid a visit to former First Lady Rosalynn and former President Jimmy Carter in Georgia. It would have been notable—citing the risks of Covid-19, the 90-something Carters were unable to attend Biden’s inauguration—but that definitely isn’t why their reunion caused a stir. The hoopla was instead about a photo documenting the visit, in which the Bidens appear to dwarf the apparently miniature nonagenarians.

The Guardian was among those quick to provide a potential explanation: The couples were likely photographed with a wide-angle lens, which can distort the subject if a photographer stands too close. Less timely—but much more amusing—was the supermodel Coco Rocha, who posted an explainer on TikTok. “Take it from a model,” she captioned the video. “You shouldn’t believe everything you see.” She then convincingly proceeded to demonstrate why.

“As someone who has appeared in a lot of pictures over the years,” Rocha explained, “I can tell you that this is a fisheye lens and some forced perspective.” (The former is an ultra-wide lens used for panoramic and hemispherical photos, and the latter is a technique for creating optical illusions, distorting the size and distance of the subject.) Rocha then proceeds to recreate the shot. “As you can see, same actual size Coco looks bigger or smaller depending on where [she] sit[s] within the frame of fisheye lens.” In conclusion: “Photography can be deceptive.”

Mystery (apparently) solved. And in case you somehow doubted Rocha, she wasn’t kidding about appearing in “a lot” of photos over the years. The 32-year-old founder of a modeling camp and agency joined the industry at just 14, making for a storied (and still vibrant) 18-year career. It all began in 2002, when the agent Charles Stuart spotted Rocha doing an Irish dance that she later reprised on the runways of Jean Paul Gaultier’s fall 2007 and final couture shows.

In between those two legendary moments, the so-called “Queen of Pose” shot up to two catalogues per day, making for 75 looks and photos apiece. Apart from that feat, Rocha also boasts a whopping 47 pages on—just four shy of Gisele Bündchen. The encyclopedic site naturally classifies Rocha as an industry icon.