Photographers' Blog

Hitting the ground running

Washington, D.C.

By Kevin Lamarque

Air Force One descends and the well choreographed dance begins: meal trays go up, shoes put back on, and laptops slipped into backpacks. Often the movie is abandoned minutes before the ending. Perhaps it’s time for one last reach into the candy basket. Cameras are slung over shoulders and settings are re-checked. Questions are asked: “Is it raining out there?” “Is there a pen of greeters?” Photographers, first out the door of the press cabin, make their way to the designated spot under the wing to photograph the President descending the steps of Air Force One.

Whether it’s a quick day trip to Virginia or a red-eye to Europe or Asia, the arrival of Air Force One is always a spectacle. For locals, it is the quintessential moment of self-importance: “Air Force One is landing in our city.” Footage of the plane landing is usually broadcast live by local networks. From inside the plane’s press cabin, we often watch this live footage, actually seeing ourselves land. It’s a pretty weird experience when you think about it.

For photographers, the arrival is the first image that places the President in his new locale. It is the beginning of a new story. The arrival photos are usually the first images we transmit to our clients who are sometimes eagerly awaiting a timely visual to match their story.

On domestic trips, those first images consist of a wave at the top of the steps followed by the President being greeted by a local politician at the bottom of the steps. Often, there is a “greeting pen,” a group of well-wishers selected to see the President’s arrival in person. President Obama will almost always make his way over to the greeting pen, at times breaking out into a spirited jog. Upon arrival at the pen, hands are shaken, babies are kissed and then Obama jumps into the waiting limo and the motorcade is off to its first destination.

Traveling abroad, the arrival is usually a more elaborate affair. The President may be met by the leader of the host country. There could be dancers in traditional costume, a band to play national anthems, children bearing flowers and an honor cordon. These elements help provide a unique setting and are a good early photo to kick off the President’s visit.

Chasing Obama

By Jason Reed

What a difference four years makes for someone running again for President of the United States.

Barack Obama hit the campaign trail in 2012 wearing two hats… one as the incumbent President, and one as a candidate for re-election.

Whether it’s from 35,000 feet aboard Air Force One or in a motorcade through the streets of Manhattan, Reuters White House photographer Jason Reed offers a view from behind the tinted windows of Obama’s 2012 Presidential campaign.

Hard to ignore… the teleprompter

By Kevin Lamarque

Teleprompters; as much as the audience, the image makers and even President Barack Obama himself may wish these devices were truly invisible, there are times when the teleprompter cannot be ignored.

SLIDESHOW: OBAMA AND TELEPROMPTERS

For photographers, the teleprompter is most often seen as a nuisance, something that hinders their shot. With teleprompters to his left and right, Obama seemingly never looks directly ahead. His head shifts from side to side, at times giving the impression he is watching a tennis match as he delivers his remarks. Photographers naturally gravitate to the 45-degree angle in order to capture Obama looking down the barrel of the lens as he reads his speech. This usually works, assuming the teleprompter is composed out of the frame. Sometimes, the President is framed clearly through the teleprompter glass and can actually make a desirable image.

At a recent campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, the teleprompter appeared different. This rally was outside on a bright and sunny day and an opaque teleprompter was in place, not the transparent model we mostly see. As I moved around, I realized I could not see the President behind this teleprompter, and it caught my eye. Moving into just the right angle, I shot many frames until Obama’s head was completely obscured by the teleprompter, giving the impression that he and the teleprompter were somehow one. Obama’s light colored shirt added to the effect.

President Obama takes the White House to the Midwest

By Jason Reed

600 miles of ice cream stops, cornfields and cow judging contests – a glimpse inside the traveling white house circus.

The scene in Washington DC, 2011 – U.S. debt ceiling negotiations, unemployment figures that wont improve, congressional deadlock – it’s enough to make you want to get out of town. President Barack Obama did just that this week, jumping on a shiny new bus and heading out to the Midwest to spend time with pretty much anyone who wasn’t wearing a business suit.

It was surely a nice change of scenery for Obama and definitely for photographers assigned to the White House who have been fed a steady diet of presidential remarks in front of all the familiar Washington backgrounds for weeks on end. The message was however, the same. Getting the nine per cent of unemployed Americans back to work.