I just spent a mind-blowing day photographing Barack Obama. I will be posting some seriously amazing images very soon, but what an unforgettable day. My husband Steve (a great photographer in his own right) and I drove down to Charlotte and received exclusive media opportunity to not only photograph him during his town hall meeting. We started in the press setup area. But since we are photographing a cover profile of him for the magazine, and up to 30 sister publications who are running the photos and editorial, we were also able to move right up next to him while he was speaking.
I was literally 5 feet away from him for a good long while and have some seriously fantastic photographs of him speaking out across a crowd of thousands. What an unbelievable experience – photographing one of the top people in the world you’d want to profile with every stitch of gear you’d want to use (for all you photogs reading the blog – the 85mm 1.2 gave me the perfect closeup of his face from that spot) and at the angle and proximity you’d know would make it work best. And oh my goodness, all politics aside, speaking simply as subject matter, Barack Obama is quite a good one.
And if that wasn’t enough, we then attended a private reception for Barack where I got to speak with him, shake his hand several times (I think if I’d done so just one more time, it might’ve gotten weird for him :) and then photograph him once again – that time, in such a different, way more relaxed setting. We were in a packed living room at a host’s home, so I was standing two feet away from him – with nothing to break the shot between us *composition happiness* – as he spoke for about 45 minutes and answered the group’s questions, doing so in such an intelligent and humorous way. I could only use my 24mm the entire time because of, y’know, the being 2 feet away from him ;)
I’ve been following this man’s career very closely for a while, and have read his books, so it was a privilege to spend time with him and, even better, to photograph him in the way and with the unbelievable access I had always wished I could have. And just from a charisma perspective, I’m not sure any politician out there connects better with a constituent when he looks right at you and smiles.
OH – and did I mention that at one point during the day I was standing shoulder to shoulder with Annie Leibovitz, shooting the same amazing subject with the same equipment??? She was wearing cooler shoes, though – red & black Nike Air. Talk about a remarkable person. Steve got some cool shots of us together. And one cheesy one of she and I posing for his camera together. Thanks for that, my new BFF Annie :)
OH – and did I mention that I also snagged a portrait of Anderson Cooper?? A genuinely nice guy ( he’s covering Barack’s campaign for CNN 360) and he was kind enough to sit there and smile for me while he waited for Barack to come through the crowd on the way out, even standing in front of a sweet backdrop!
Still in Charlotte, heading home now, so lots of images coming soon…