|The image seems out of focus and awkwardly posed—its subject all but slumping over a table, his coattail ballooning like a window drape—but Abraham Lincoln loved this photograph as much as any taken of him during his presidency.|
Yet Lincoln’s enthusiasm for the odd pose is difficult to comprehend. He looks almost like a village schoolmaster dozing off in class during an exam. Other shots taken that day were far superior.
Nevertheless, when Gardner sent all the images to Lincoln, the president wrote, “The imperial photograph, in which the head leans upon the hand, I regard as the best that I have yet seen.” Perhaps this is how Abraham Lincoln saw himself.