Nadav Kander

Donald Trump as Person of the Year 2016

Photo above by Paul Moakley for TIME

Nadav Kander

Portrait of Donald Trump for TIME magazine's "Person of the Year" cover, photographed at his penthouse on the 66th floor of Trump Tower in New York City on Nov. 28, 2016.

It was last year that I discovered not only this cover photo but also one of the most excellent photographers of our times. The quality of this picture made me more than enthusiastic. It shows President-elect Donald Trump in his old-style armchair, that is put diagonally toward the camera. A shaded blue-green color tone is flowing from the chair into the monochrome background which has a vignette and to the left the silhouette of Trump is barely noticeable.

Trump is dressed in a dark-blue suit, light-blue shirt and turns his right shoulder toward the camera. He looks back as a determined and triumphant “Commander in Chief”. Regarding the three-quarter profile view, the right side of his face is lighted and the head with the characteristic form of his red-blond hair is slightly inclined, what accentuates the straight outline of his head. The forehead with a light frowning together with the eyebrows and the straight line of his nose and the part of mouth and chin produce a certain harmonious total effect. The eyes are quite shaded with almost no catchlight in them. Throughout the face there is a clear line between light and shade. Under the chin there is to be seen the upper part of his shirt-collar and from the side the lighted red tie. His right arm leans extended on the chair, his left hand is gripping it in sovereignty, letting the cuff-links shine.

Nadav Kander's formal portrait of Donald Trump has won the first place prize in the Portrait category of the international competition “Picture of the Year”, matching perfectly the conditions for portrait photography: „A single photograph that reflects a strong sense of a person’s identity or narrative“. Unlike 2012 when Kander already has shot for TIME the photo of then President-elect Barack Obama, he now added a chair to the portrait. That accessory certainly rounds up the clear statement of the image.

The combination of aesthetic perfection and technical mastering creates a unique impression of the powerful person sitting from now on in the state’s driver’s seat. Nadav Kander describes the construction of a photograph by “the theory of the triangle … the combined perspectives of photographer, subject, and viewer…”. I was immediately fascinated by this picture and could not hold to imitate it, although in an amateurish way.