In these divisive times, it can be hard to remember the simpler days when the president (even if you didn't always agree with him) seemed like a guy who'd be fun to hang out with. Barack Obama encapsulated these qualities before and after he was president, as further evidenced by recently released photos of him during his run for Senate. The snaps, including this throwback photo of Obama with his daughters, highlights the former president's most endearing qualities.
The touching snap was taken by photographer Callie Shell, which will be included in her new book, Hope, Never Fear: A Personal Portrait of the Obamas. The work is a retrospective of the family's early years, and each photo gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into life with the Obamas. There are over 100 shots, including some taken when the Obamas were living in Chicago and working their way up the political ladder.
There are a lot of photos to love in Shell's book, but what stands out is a snap that shows a young Sasha and Malia standing in what appears to be kitchen while their dad does dishes. Taken in October 2006, you can see Malia looking up at her dad with apparent admiration while an adorable Sasha stands to his side. One can assume it was taken in the morning because Obama told Shell at the time, according to CNN: "My favorite thing when I go home is breakfast with the kids and taking them to school," he told Shell at the time."
The portrait is a beautiful depiction of fatherhood and Obama's values, to say the least, and it brings back a lot of great memories for many people.
As for what compelled Shell to photograph Obama to begin with, she stated, according to the Post and Courier: “I wanted to show the fact that he started out driving in a van. He washed his own dishes, he helped take his kids to school. I wanted to show how much your life changes [in a position of power]."
The photographer first met Obama in 2004 while covering John Kerry’s campaign for TIME magazine, and told the newspaper she had a special feeling early on about Obama. This led Shell to initially photograph the Obamas between 2006 and 2008, by which time she was asked to consider joining the presidential campaign. Later, she was was given the opportunity to become the White House photographer, according to The Post and Courier.
Shell ultimately turned the job down, noting to The Post and Courier that she "didn’t want to watch Sasha and Malia grow up" while "missing" the development of her own son. After being granted access to the First Family during their first 100 days in D.C., however, she had more than enough material for what later became her book. And her relationship with the Obamas continued to flourish.
Looking back at this photo of a young Obama in the kitchen with his daughters is kind of like a time machine. Both girls were under 10 at the time, which is wild because Malia is currently 21 now and a junior at Harvard, according to TODAY, while 18-year-old Sasha just graduated from high school.
On a personal note, my first baby had just been born around the time this photo was taken, before the difficult recession and the age of Trump. It felt like a more innocent time.
Still, times and people change. Now with both ladies out of the house, Barack and Michelle now have time to themselves again, which they're using to explore new projects. In the meantime, I can't wait to see more vintage photos like this one because the Obamas are such an exceptional family.