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26th Aug 2019

Ranking the most uncomfortable photographs from the G7 summit

Ciara Knight

Contains spoilers! Do not read about G7 if you have missed G1-G6

Summit’s going in in Biarritz right now (Do you get it? Because there is a summit. The G7 summit, to be precise).

The 45th G7 summit is entering its final day in France today, after discussing official things like climate change, global trade, taxing and technology companies. Unofficial small talk topics will have likely covered Miley and Liam’s split, the new Strictly celebrity lineup, GBBO‘s long-awaited return tomorrow night and whether Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s relationship is fake or not.

As with any publicised large-scale meeting of world leaders, the press photographs are an absolute treasure trove.

Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Shinzō Abe, Giuseppe Conte, Donald Tusk, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump have outdone themselves in a truly remarkable ensemble cast performance at this year’s G7 summit press call.

The cringe level is off the charts. Out of morbid curiosity, it makes perfect sense to rank them from quite uncomfortable to incredibly uncomfortable.

8. Boris Johnson standing unnecessarily close to Brigette Macron while he points at something that probably doesn’t matter

After arriving in Biarritz for the 45th G7 summit, Boris Johnson wasted no time in representing the entire nation of the United Kingdom by standing far too close to the First Lady of France. His shoulder is so unnecessarily close to hers, she’s had to move slightly forward to allow them to remain side-by-side. This is reminiscent of the backseat formation in a car, where someone usually has to sit slightly forward so that there is sufficient shoulder space for everyone inside the vehicle. What is Boris Johnson pointing at? Nothing important enough for the Macrons to look at. But so important that Boris must stand slack-jawed and marvel at it. Perhaps it is a large red bus full to the brim with lies, or a tailor who’s been drafted in to fix his suit. Macron’s reassuring hand placed on Johnson’s back suggests that it is the former.

7. Donald Trump appearing to place the blame for something on Boris Johnson

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson couldn’t look less like they’ve just arrived in Biarritz for a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit. Instead, this is a pair of brothers on their first day back to school. Mum has just moved the photoshoot location from in front of the fireplace to the bottom of the staircase. Boris keeps pinching Donald when they stand too close together, so Dad’s had to step in and mediate peace relations. All Mum wants is one perfect shot to send to the relevant grandparents that are still lucid enough to understand what is happening. But Boris has pushed things too far this time. He’s called Donald a bad word and now Don has kicked off. “I didn’t do anything, he started it. He called me a fat c-“, “I DON’T CARE WHO STARTED IT BECAUSE I’M FINISHING IT”, Dad interjects, finishing it.

6. Donald Trump and Boris Johnson excitedly pointing at the biggest clown in the room

Having had a turbulent photo shoot earlier this morning, the boys went off to school and reconnected with friends about tales of their summer holidays and farfetched descriptions of kissing girls on holidays who remarkably have no social media presence whatsoever, meaning none of the graphic information can be verified. Now they’re home, tucking into a special first day back at school dinner than consists of fish fingers, potato smileys and peas. Mum is tired, Dad is tired, the dog has been shitting itself all day for some reason. But then Boris starts talking about something that happened at school earlier, involving a prank with those little bins in the girls’ toilet. Donald is spitting Fruit Shoot out of his nose with laughter. Mum and Dad share a knowing look as it becomes apparent that they are raising morons. The dog continues to shit, left of frame.

5. Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump seemingly launching the new series of The Apprentice

The promo picture for the next series of The Apprentice looks interesting. The candidates this time around are more accomplished than usual, with several world leaders in contention to become Lord Sugar’s next business associate. In this image, we see ‘Team G7th Heaven’ trying to assign roles within the group for their first task. Donald (Trump) says that his strength lies in social media, while Boris Johnson feels he can work on the sales end of things, getting good deals for everyone involved (except the working class). In this tense scene, Emmanuel Macron tries to juggle the egos of his counterparts (Donald Trump and Donald Tusk making nicknames to avoid confusion) while Angela Merkel throws a sympathy-requesting look to the camera every time someone says something stupid.

4. Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau appearing to sit their GCSEs

Having failed his PE exam twice previously, Boris Johnson is preparing to resit the test. He’s been placed alphabetically, somehow, beside Justin Trudeau, a student whose brain is so powerful, it will one day be possible to convert it into nuclear energy. Boris is nervous. If he fails this for a third time, he’s going to be denied PlayStation privileges for a week. In the exact moment this photograph was taken, it has dawned on Boris that he is sitting beside a genius. If he simply copies everything that Justin writes down, he’s going to get a suspiciously good grade. But if he changes the work a little bit, he’s golden. All he needs to do is rat out the guy in the back row who’s using a mobile phone and the world is his protein-rich oyster.

3. Boris Johnson having to work through lunch

In what was legitimately described by Getty Images’ captioning as ‘Boris Johnson attends a working lunch’, Boris Johnson accurately depicts what it feels like to be asked to work through your lunch break. “You can leave a bit early later”, your boss says, with the full intention of making sure that you stay for the entirety of the workday “We’ll order lunch in”, conveniently from a place across the road that does repugnant sandwiches and soup. People didn’t perish in the war for you to work through lunch. The only person that should be working through lunch is a lunch lady or lunch gentleman. Unless you’re Boris Johnson, in which case you will never feel the cool breeze of an outside lunch ever again. Not until you fix Brexit and acquire some AirPods in the process.

2. An aerial photograph, which screams ‘Just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should’ 


Truly, who thought an aerial photograph would be a good idea and furthermore, who encouraged that person to carry out the task, defying gravity to install a camera on the literal roof. This is what Dragons’ Den looks like when you’ve really fucked with the production crew’s day and demanded that you do your skylight company’s presentation from the vantage point of an actual skylight. In order to gain investment in your shitty business idea, you must now impress eight extremely powerful world leaders. Suspending yourself from the roof has certainly got the Dragons’ attention, but now you need to dazzle them. Simply offer up 10% of your business in return for a healthy £2m investment (€2.2m) and watch them all confidently declare “I’m out” in their native language. Then it gets to Donald Trump. “Skylights, eh? You can really see the sky through them?”, to which you reply “Yes, and the stars at night”. “Terrific”, he announces, then places a quick call that starts with the +7 area code, only to be given strict instructions not to buy a stake in your company.

1. Donald Trump kissing(?) Angela Merkel

Imagine being the Chancellor of Germany for 14 years and having to exchange pleasantries with the human embodiment of an ingrown toenail. Imagine having to do all of that in front of a bunch of photographers. Imagine having to do that while you’re staring into the pursed lips of Donald Trump. Imagine being on the receiving end of the above expression of cordiality. This is the worst image the world has ever seen. It’s yet to be determined what good will come from the 45th G7 summit, but it’s unlikely that the world leaders’ combined efforts will emerge with a memory-erasing neuralyzer stick like in Men In Black, meaning it has been a complete waste of time because now we have all seen this image and will never be able to forget it for the rest of our natural lives.