After the high-pressure Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki earlier this month, TIME Magazine to mark the event has put both the leaders’ faces on their cover. However, the twist lies in the fact that Trump’s arching eyebrows, wispy hair morphs into Vladimir Putin’s heavy lidded face.
The close-up image shows the leaders' faces blended so that it's unclear where one begins and the other ends. An animated version online shows President Trump fully transforming into Putin in about 15 seconds.
The photo illustration, by visual artist Nancy Burson, "is meant to represent this particular moment in U.S. foreign policy, following the pair's recent meeting in Helsinki, Finland," Time said in a statement.
The cover was released just days after the two leaders' joint press conference in Helsinki, during which Trump appeared to cast doubt on the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the 2016 election. His statements have enveloped his administration in a storm of criticism.
— TIME (@TIME) July 19, 2018
TIME explains further, “As Brian Bennett writes in this week’s cover story, ‘A year and a half into his presidency, Trump’s puzzling affinity for Putin has yet to be explained. Trump is bruised by the idea that Russian election meddling taints his victory, those close to him say, and can’t concede the fact that Russia did try to interfere in the election, regardless of whether it impacted the outcome. He views this problem entirely through a political lens, these people say, unable or unwilling to differentiate between the question of whether his campaign colluded with Russia—which he denies—and the question of whether Russia attempted to influence the election.”
The artist Burson has became well known for developing a technique to age faces, which is used by the FBI to find missing children.
However in consequent interviews following the summit, Trump has tried to backtrack on his statements. In an interview with CBS News, President Trump was asked if he holds Putin personally responsible for meddling. "Well I would, because he's in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country. So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes," Trump said.