Currently, the user picture is separated from the rest of the user's information in the submitted variable. And they are each wrapped in a div. blech.
We need to override the default user-picture.tpl.php template to change its wrapping div. Ideally, I'd like to put the classes that were in the wrapper on the image itself. Unfortunately, the image sometimes has a wrapping link and sometimes not. So we'd sometimes need to put the "user-picture" class on the link and sometimes need to put the class on a wrapping span. Even worse, the code to generate the user picture and its link is complicated and time consuming (from a performance perspective) and we'd need to completely re-do that simply to add a class to it. :-p So it's easier to just a span around the picture/link at all times.