I’ve been waiting all week to write this piece. I was meant to write it yesterday until I was reminded: yesterday was the day, last year, that the entire IMAGE office was getting ready to celebrate Clinton’s glass-shattering win as the first female President of the United States. Only, on this day 2016, we awoke to the news that it didn’t happen. We were devastated – we still are devastated. And it’s been a tough year; the news is mostly doom and gloom. Terrorism, Harvey Weinstein and general world chaos thanks to the reality TV star – a racist and selfish, woman-hating narcissist – who became the 45th President of the United States. Stop the train; I want to get off.
But it hasn’t been all bad. We are resisting the status quo. Speaking out, no longer rendered mute. These things are the rays of sunshine we need when things are turned upside down: Edward Enninful’s inaugural issue of Vogue – elegant, cool and championing diversity all through its pages; Hillary Clinton guest-editing the final print edition of Teen Vogue and sending an apt message of empowerment to millions of impressionable women, and a new book about Michelle Obama, appropriately called Chasing Light: a collection of intimate, behind the scenes photographs of The First Lady captured by one of the Official White House Photographers, Amanda Lucidon.
If ever we needed a reminder that the former First Lady was exceptional (and one quite unlike any other), giving us hope when we felt there was so little, this book is it. Lucidon explains that she saw the First Lady as a source of light and wanted this to be reflected in its pages. “I hope that people see the light inside themselves…sometimes we need other people to bring that out in us. Mrs Obama was one of the people who brought it out in me,” she told Good Morning America. “What the First Lady has travelled around the country and the world saying candidly, which I learned from her, is that you can be anything; how you grew up and your circumstances do not define you.”
For four years, Lucidon was the only female photographer on the White House staff and tasked with covering Michelle Obama. The result is 150 candid photographs (some which have never been seen), beautifully exemplifying what made her one of the most respected and admired First Ladies in history.
We’ve been given a selection of photos to preview from the book, and they are as glorious as you can expect.
She’s pictured speaking to a group of girls in Liberia. Look at the awe and delight in their eyes and on their faces.
Even while exercising she is beaming and elegant. And notice the impressive stretching from the boy in front; going that extra mile to get a glimpse of her.
With Barack. Walking, smiling and likely sharing a secret we’ll never know of.
A wonderful shot, made more beautiful as we can see two Michelle Obamas. Heaven much?
We’d definitely eat any green, leafy veg hand-picked by the First Lady.
Michelle, walking onto Air Force One with nothing but blue sky behind her.
Chasing Light is published by Sphere and is out now