See the problem?
There are no historical accounts that have Joseph Smith translating directly from the plates with Oliver Cowdery writing down what he spoke.
The photo is pure fiction. It's an artist's conception, but it's not historically accurate.
Nevertheless, this image has become reality in the minds of many people who saw it. In fact, a version like this made the cover of the Ensign as recently as 2001.
An outstanding article titled "Joseph the Seer" was published in the October 2015 Ensign, here. The subtitle explains what the article is about:
The historical record clarifies how Joseph Smith fulfilled his role as a seer and translated the Book of Mormon.
The article explains how artists' conceptions have not been historically accurate: "Over the years, artists have sought to portray the Book of Mormon translation, showing the participants in many settings and poses with different material objects. Each artistic interpretation is based upon its artist’s own views, research, and imagination, sometimes aided by input and direction from others."
One of the main points of the article is to explain that Joseph used a seer stone and placed it in a hat to block out the light so he could read what appeared on the stone. Here's the image of the stone:
And here is the display at recreated home where Joseph and Oliver worked on the translation in what was then Harmony, PA:
It is very difficult for people to change their mental image of historical events when they've seen inaccurate artwork for so long.
A very similar thing is going on with the Book of Mormon right now. Most people have seen the Arnold Friberg paintings, including this one of Christ appearing to the Nephites.
Friberg specifically intended to depict a Mesoamerican setting, down to the detail of the species of birds he painted in the scene of Lehi arriving at the promised land.
What he forgot was that nowhere in the text does it say the Nephites built with stone, other than stone walls. No stone temples, no stone cities, not even stone houses. Yet here is an image of a massive stone temple at Bountiful, completely made up, that has influence millions of people who have read the Book of Mormon with these paintings inside.
Just this week I picked up a Book of Mormon at a Marriott Courtyard and it had Arnold Friberg paintings of Mesoamerica inside. This copy had been printed in December 2014.
Although these paintings are dramatic, this artwork is misleading in multiple ways. When the official Church policy is supposedly neutral on Book of Mormon geography, why do we keep seeing the Arnold Friberg Mesoamerican paintings in copies of the Book of Mormon?
The problem is, few people have seen it.
This is what should be in copies of the Book of Mormon, not the erroneous Arnold Friberg paintings.
Fortunately, more and more LDS artists are creating historically accurate depictions of Church history, as well as textually accurate depictions of Book of Mormon events. Until these replace the misleading artwork of the past in the minds of the people, though, erroneous ideas will continue.
I realize critics will say the depiction of North America is no more valid than the depiction of Mesoamerica, but how can they argue against at least showing both?
There are artists who focus on accuracy instead of drama when they depict historical events, whether that involves Church history or Book of Mormon narratives, but their artwork doesn't appear on lds.org or in copies of the Book of Mormon. Instead, hotel guests, investigators, and anyone who visits LDS visitors centers (or chapels) is exposed to misleading artwork that creates false mental images that are difficult to correct later on.
BTW, I hope it's clear I'm not criticizing the art itself. Medieval and Renaissance painting is filled with anachronism similar to Arnold Friberg's. Here's a well-known painting that put the last supper into Leonardo da Vinci's time frame:
This one, Luca van Leyden's 1520 painting titled "Lot and his Daughters," depicts the Sodom of the Old Testament as a typical Dutch city, circa 1520.
As long as people realize the Friberg paintings are not historically accurate and don't even reflect what the text says, fine. But why are they included in official copies of the Book of Mormon?