Melania Trump is fascinating, if only because we know so little about her. She wants to battle cyberbullies, but she’s married to one. She plagiarized Michelle Obama for reasons we never quite figured out. She may or may not be absolutely miserable. The only thing we seem to know for sure about her is that she was never an escort. One question, however, has dominated most conversations about her, and that’s why she seems so reluctant to leave Trump Tower and live in the White House. That’s what led writer Kate Imbach to scour the first lady’s Twitter account for any kind of answer.
Her resulting Medium post on the topic, titled “Fairytale Prisoner By Choice: The Photographic Eye Of Melania Trump,” focuses not on her posts, however, but on her photos. “I noticed that in the three-year period between June 3, 2012 and June 11, 2015 she tweeted 470 photos which she appeared to have taken herself,” Imbach writes. “I examined these photographs as though they were a body of work.”
Her discoveries are fascinating. In three years, Melania posted just one photo of her and Donald Trump (seen above) and just five photos of she and Donald’s son, Barron, with his father. There’s only one photo of she and Barron. “It was also the only occasion when she posted a photograph of his whole face,” Imbach writes, “She disguised him the same way she disguised herself, in the little boy-version of her big sunglasses—ski goggles.” Later, she concludes that she “wants to protect him” because “[t]o Melania, protection means hiding.”
And it certainly seems as if she spends a good deal of time sealed away from society. In an eerie twist, a bulk of Melania’s photos are of the same landscapes, almost always shot through windows. She posted 74 photographs of the view from her home in Trump Tower, always from the same vantage point, as well as 57 photos from inside cars and 67 from her private plane.
We all have a tendency to repeat the same imagery in our photography. It’s part of having an eye. But, knowing what we know now, that these photographs were taken by a woman who is shirking the responsibilities of first lady in favor of suing the Daily Mail over the damage they’ve done to her “brand” by claiming she was once an escort, a woman who has the nerve to refuse to leave her home, even though that refusal comes with a $50 million annual government handout for her security costs, these photographs take on a darker edge. They appear to be the documentation of changing seasons by a doomed recluse. Let the world fall down around her—she’s not going anywhere.
According to Imbach, what it all amounts to is that a distant recluse like Melania “is the woman least fit for public service in the entirety of the United States of America. We should expect nothing from her.”
If this analysis is to be believed, Donald’s not the one holding her back. She’s happy to reside at a remove from the rest of America. Maybe she doesn’t want anyone’s help, after all.