The photographer who documented Michelle Obama for 4 years in the White House reveals what the former first lady's life was like, on and off the clock

  • Michelle Obama’s personal White House photographer was Amanda Lucidon.
  • Lucidon spent four years documenting the first family.
  • Her book, Chasing Light, is filled with photographs and personal accounts of her time at the White House.

Each administration since President John F. Kennedy has had an official photographer to document life in the White House.

While Pete Souza was busy documenting the life of President Barack Obama, the photographer Amanda Lucidon was following Michelle Obama, capturing her every move from 2013 until 2017.

Lucidon’s New York Times Best Seller, “Chasing Light,” is more than 200 pages of the former first lady’s time in the White House, along with personal accounts from Lucidon.

“It was a remarkable experience,” Lucidon told Business Insider of her time documenting the first family.

Here’s a look at some of the best photographs from the book.

It was White House photographer Pete Souza who called Lucidon, asking if she was interested in the job.

'Before working at the White House, I had spent most of my career documenting stories that focused on civil rights and discrimination issues. As a documentarian, I recognised the importance and responsibility of photographing our first African American First Family. For me, it transcended politics. I had the honour to witness and document history,' Lucidon said to Business Insider.

In her book, Lucidon describes feeling 'shell shock' upon meeting the first lady. 'It was quick, I have no idea what I said, and I could hardly see because I was smiling so big,' Lucidon wrote.

'Each day I was amazed that the gates of the White House were open for me. I had the opportunity to work in a living, breathing museum and admire its history and art, as well as spend time with those who preserved and protected it,' she said.

Lucidon also travelled with Michelle and staff from the West and East Wings. 'They were extremely hard-working, talented and dedicated to something bigger than themselves,' she said of the staff.

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a discussion with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Freida Pinto, and students at R. S. Caulfield Senior High School in Unification Town, Liberia.

During her time at the White House, Lucidon also documented the work of the National Park groundskeepers, and it was turned into a multimedia piece featured online. 'Many of the gardeners have been there for more than 25 years,' she said.

This photo, which is now one of Lucidon's most well-known, almost didn't make the cut. 'At first, this shot felt more like an 'almost' for me because it was so cluttered ... Luckily, Al Anderson, our wonderful White House photo editor, convinced me that it was great despite its composition,' she wrote in her book.

President Obama and Mrs. Obama share a moment in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.

'I changed both as a person and as a photographer. It would be impossible to stay the same when I was constantly surrounded by inspiration,' Lucidon said of her four years on the job.

When asked which photo of hers is a personal favourite, Lucidon replied, 'It changes each day. But today, my favourite photo is the image of Mrs. Obama on the Great Wall of China with her daughters. It reminds me that even though she maintains such a serious and important role, being a good mother is her most important priority. As a new mother, I really admire her values.'

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