A Portrait of the Congressman

On Tuesday, Massachusetts held primary elections to determine who will compete for the Senate seat left vacant when John Kerry became Secretary of State. While researching one of the candidates, congressman Stephen Lynch, I noticed something odd. Specifically, his official congressional portrait:

Stephen F. Lynch's Portrait
Congressman Lynch’s Official Portrait

Is that a hyper-realistic painting, or an incredibly Photoshopped picture? I honestly don’t know! Research showed that Lynch’s opponent in the primary, fellow congressman Ed Markey, has an official portrait which is clearly a photo. So I first assumed Lynch’s portrait was a picture. Perhaps only Presidents have earned painted portraits.

That’s apparently not so. Congressmen can get painted portraits, and on the taxpayers’ dime no less. So, it’s a painting then, right? The background behind Mr. Lynch certainly suggests as much. Perhaps we can confirm over on Lynch’s website? Ah, perfect, an About section. And there’s a link to Lynch’s…Official Photo.

Alright, that settles it. It’s a photo.