4 congresswomen Photoshopped into official group photo

Jan. 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM ET

After posing for that cheesy portrait for the holiday card, we all know about the headaches group portraits can cause. For House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic congresswomen, it's turned into something of a migraine.

On Thursday, the women gathered on the steps of the Capitol to take a large group photo, but four women were late to the shoot. Instead of gathering all 61 of the congresswomen again on their first day on the job, a House photographer snapped a photo of the latecomers and Photoshopped them into the top of the group, as seen above.

Pelosi’s office distributed the manipulated image on Thursday, sending out an email noting, “this version has the four members who were late photo-shopped in.”

News organizations ran with the story, questioning its accuracy as a historical document, since four members were not actually present for the group photo.

Ron Sachs, president of the White House News Photographers Association, said Friday in a statement to, "Today's 'doctored' photo is not a true representation of the moment that happened yesterday, which brings into question the integrity of photos released by the government."

At a press conference on Friday, Pelosi said, “Yeah, it was an accurate historical record of who the Democratic women of Congress are. It is also an accurate record that is was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive.”

The photo shoot took around 20 minutes.

“As soon as they would get the group together, another lady would show up, and then another lady,” Doug Wilkes, a photo editor for CQ Roll Call, told

The constant shuffling and readjusting resulted in several differences in the filed photographs sent in by different photo agencies, such as the Associated Press and Getty, as seen below.

Cliff Owen / AP /
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Califorina, front row and center, poses with female House members on the steps of the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 3, 2013, before the official opening of the 113th Congress.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images /
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California stands with Democratic congresswomen to highlight the historic diversity of the House Democratic Caucus on Jan. 3, 2013.


One of the congresswomen who was late, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., ran down the stairs after the shoot apologizing, “I’m sorry I missed the photo!” said Getty Images photographer Mark Wilson.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images /
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., third from left, greets female members of the House Democratic Caucus after a photo op on Jan. 3, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

A House of Representatives photographer approached Wasserman Shultz and the other three congresswomen, telling them to stand in front of a blank background so he could Photoshop them in.

“The public believes that what you put out there is 100 percent real,” Wilkes told “(Pelosi’s) out of touch.”


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