The group photo of the seven-member Swiss cabinet is an annual ritual. It is not just a souvenir but also captures the mood and ambitions of the government through symbolism.
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Interior Minister Alain Berset, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency for 2023, wanted to emphasise the good cooperation between the members of the government, who represent different parties and come from the three main linguistic regions of the country.
The photo shows the seven Federal Councillors and the Federal Chancellor gathered around a large table: they form a whole, but also interact in small groups. The photo was taken by Matthieu Gafsou, a photographer from canton Vaud, who was inspired by 17th-century genre painting and the Düsseldorf school of photography. The landscape in the background symbolises the outside world.
"In times of uncertainty and crisis, the photograph should be both reassuring and sober. It is intended to show the unity of the Federal Council and the good cooperation of its members, despite the different points of view," Berset said.
If the photo is at first sight rather classic, a few sheets of paper flying over the ministers' heads add a little fantasy to the picture. According to the Federal Chancellery, these are poems by Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz, which "discreetly evoke the chaos and global tensions that seem much more present today than in the past".