Why the Bidens look enormous in that viral photo with the Carters

"This looks like that scene from The Fellowship of The Ring where Gandalf is visiting Frodo's house," jokes one Twitter user.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

President Joe Biden is tall, but is he that tall? The president and first lady Jill Biden recently visited former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Georgia, and the two pairs posed for a photo . But when The Carter Center shared the image , viewers noticed something strange.

The Bidens look enormous, while the Carters look tiny, leading some to joke that it looks as if the First Couple is visiting a dollhouse.

"Very oddly shot photo," wrote actress Meredith Salenger, also noting the paintings of the Carter family hanging on the wall. "Besides it looking like a dollhouse. Or the Bidens are from Gulliver's Travels. It's the art in the back that does it for me."

Jimmy Carter biographer Jonathan Alter told The Washington Post the Carters aren't that much shorter than the Bidens, although there are height differences. Jimmy Carter is reportedly 5-foot-10, Rosalynn is 5-foot-5, and at ages 96 and 93, respectively, they've likely lost some height over the years. Joe Biden is just under 6 feet, and Jill Biden is reportedly 5-foot-6.

Freelance photographer Marlena Sloss told the Post a strong flash likely made it appear Joe Biden and Rosalynn Carter are side-by-side, whereas he is actually kneeling much farther in front of her, and a wide-angle camera lens helped magnify the illusion of wildly different heights.

One Twitter user had thoughts on the reason behind the odd image, writing, "Looks like the photographer couldn't use the correct lens because they didn't have the distance to move back so they pulled out the wide angle. Kinda wished they had just done two exposures of the sweet moment and stitched them together so the perspective wouldn't have been wonky."

Still, it was the perfect photo to get the buzz going.

"At least one of the following things is true: 1) the Bidens are 9 feet tall 2) the Carters are 3 feet tall or 3) I'm losing my mind," wrote one Twitter user.

Said another, "This looks like that scene from The Fellowship of The Ring where Gandalf is visiting Frodo's house."

Photo editors also had fun playing with the image, shrinking or enlarging the couples.

The Bidens' visit to the Carters was part of their trip to Georgia last week and marked Joe Biden's 100th day in office.