Towards the end of this past July I received a call from Brian Marcus at Glamour asking if I’d like to photograph our President. He told me it wouldn’t be a portrait shoot, but more of a candid moment of lovely Editor in Chief, Cindi Leive and Obama during an exclusive interview. I of course said yes, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. The shot above happened towards the end of the interview when Cindi asked the President about his daughters, Sasha and Malia. It may appear to be a straightforward photograph, but I only made pictures during the interview, so getting two people looking good during a conversation isn’t like riding a bike.
For those of you who don’t know me, that’s me on the left. On the right is my assistant Brian Jones. Yes, I am tall, and no, Obama isn’t short.
The suit and the gear.
I just want to mention that you are only as good as the team around you, and Brian was instrumental in helping me get through the day. We drove down to Portland anticipating to photograph Obama at 10:30am. After the dog sniff was complete and the secret service (they even put lenses on all my cameras and fired them off – total pros) had their chance to go over all of my equipment, we went inside to our coffee shop location. There we got word that the shoot might not happen until early afternoon. That was a slight curveball because I was booked on a redeye out of Seattle for commercial job in Miami later that night. I figured I’d still have plenty of time to drive back, so we started to set up. Shortly after getting lights in place, we were informed the President was arriving and that we had to go to a media holding room. Not to worry we were told, we’d have at least an hour to return and finish setting up. Long story short, we ended up sitting in the holding room until 4:10pm. The hour we were promised had evaporated to roughly eight minutes. Back to the team – Brian (PE at Glamour) helped me secure a flight from Portland to Seattle so I could make my redeye. Brian Jones, my assistant, helped me keep a cool head by suggesting I get a taxi to PDX and he would drive my car and gear back to Seattle. While on the surface, the published photo doesn’t look complex, there was a lot of furniture to move and lights to tweak to just make the image look casual and candid. If you ever find yourself in the NW in need of a digi tech or assistant, give Brian Jones a call.
The question I get asked the most about the shoot: “So, how was he?”
When he walked into the room, he clearly had a presence. He seems cool and collected with great charisma. He also seems to be a devoted father and husband as he really got excited when talking about his family. I was a fan before I met him, and continue to think he’s pretty genuine.
Read more about the interview in the current issue of Glamour or on their site here.
Thanks again to Brian Marcus and Cindi Leive for allowing me this amazing opportunity!