After another unpleasant day at one of his myriad of trials, former president Donald Trump emerged looking tired and orangey—so much so that it has led to a new appreciation of just how much makeup he seems to be wearing: he looks like “a Tupperware container after you microwave spaghetti and meat sauce in it,” writes a commenter at Reddit. The photo going viral is by Jeenah Moon and went out on the Reuters wire. Above, I’ve clipped an extremely small portion of the photograph and blurred it to illustrate the hue that Trump now attains.
I sample the orangiest parts of this image to match 7579-C, but the general value of it all is a little paler, close to Dark Cheddar in the Pantone Matching System.
But here’s the thing: the lighting and environment of the shot mean we don’t really have an accurate sampling.
While he’s certainly made up to an unsightly degree, his is a narcissism found in and bound by mirrors. Like the hair, the makeup is designed to look right to him under specific conditions when he sees himself, and he likely has no ability to appreciate or understand that it looks different under others. You could explain color rendering indexes to him, say, and he might have an idea of what you’re getting at, but the knowledge dissolves under the sight of himself in the mirror, looking Right.
In other words, we don’t really know what color his coating is, because the “popular” photos tend to be taken under lighting that makes it particularly horrid. And we must admit that photographers may be crafting their shots cleverly. You can’t photoshop it, ethically, but you can dial-in the white balance with an outcome in mind.
The only solution is for someone to hold up a color calibration card by Trump’s face next time he runs into a huddle of photogs. It’s the only way to be sure.