Merkel's human side: Instagram account captures Chancellor off guard

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Alexandra Ball - [email protected]
Merkel's human side: Instagram account captures Chancellor off guard
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Photographs of German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been collected online with the aim of humanizing her public image.


Merkel’s best ‘looks’ have been collected and exhibited through the Instagram account merkellooks, and range from black-and-white shots of a teenage Merkel to her peering into a microscope.

The account has shown images of Merkel since February 3rd 2017 and boasts a collection of almost 400 photos and over 12,000 followers. 

It was created by Alana Johnson, an American artist and librarian based in Los Angeles, in an attempt to show a more human side to an otherwise serious public figure.

The artist had already created a similar account for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate in the US 2016 presidential election, called hillarylooks.

She developed the account in June 2016 during Clinton's presidential campaign, which she had hoped to work for but could not due to illness.


A post shared by Alana Johnson (@merkellooks) on Feb 21, 2017 at 9:35pm PST

Johnson says that recent political developments in the USA pushed her to create the account.

"I needed a distraction! Anything to get my mind off of Trump and his administration full of moronic bigots for a moment. It helps me stay sane," she told The Local via email.

But why does Merkel require humanizing?

"Her popularity has suffered because of her refugee policy (among other things, obviously, but this seems to be one of the more salient reasons), and obviously the European Union is fraying right now," said Johnson.

"I've come to think of the term 'humanizing' as a bit strange, but there are people who seriously think politicians are secretly lizards, so whatever."


A post shared by Alana Johnson (@merkellooks) on Mar 22, 2017 at 8:46pm PDT

"Merkel seems to be taken for granted a bit, and as an American I'm in awe that she's managed to hold on to power as long as she has. I'm jealous of countries that manage to elect female leaders!" 

Johnson notes that her research skills as a librarian have allowed her to track down the best shots, which she found "all over the place. I spend a lot of time looking for them". 


A post shared by Alana Johnson (@merkellooks) on Mar 14, 2017 at 6:53pm PDT

So, what makes a good photo of the Chancellor?
"Essentially, I look for images that wouldn't typically accompany a news piece about her," Johnson said.
"Photos that strike me as amusing or revealing in some way, like her side-eyeing someone she clearly doesn't like, or her scarfing down some wurst.
"Fashion is an afterthought."

A post shared by Alana Johnson (@merkellooks) on Feb 21, 2017 at 11:14pm PST

Johnson intends to continue the project, saying "I have plenty [of photos of Merkel] saved already and I search for more compulsively!"



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