Memories of My President
Over the last eight years, I have had the opportunity and honor to have photographed President Barack Obama either during his visits to Philadelphia or during my travels to the White House.
The feeling really can’t be described in words, but the chance to take photos of the most powerful man in the world gives you a sense of humbleness and happiness. I remember the first time I went to the White House was back in 2009.
The Philadelphia Phillies had just won the World Series so I applied for credentials to cover them when they visited the White House. To my surprise, I was approved to cover the event. So I made the trip to Washington, DC and I almost missed my chance.
Other than me flying down I-95 and the beltway at an undisclosed rate of speed (insert 5th Amendment speech here), I was not too familiar with the city and wound up walking to the opposite side of the White House.
After a few minutes and help from security, I was told which way to go. Running around the corner and just making it to the gate I showed my ID and was given my credential.
It was like holding an uncut diamond or holding the winning lottery ticket in my hands. What I didn’t realize until later was that the wealth was not only seeing my favorite team being honored for their hard work on the field, but I was a part of history by listening to the speech of the first African-American president in the history of the United States.
Click after click, I just kept taking photos of the team and Barack. Before I knew it the event was over. Back to reality. Before I left the South Lawn I had to take a photo just to show that I was there.
Through the years, whether it was at the airport, a middle school, at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway or at the White House, his presence and messages of hope and pride made you believe that what he wanted to do for our country was genuinely sincere.
Other than the Air Force One flight delay in Newark, NJ where I was rewarded with official presidential matchbooks, my greatest memory of the President and me was during one visit to Philadelphia.
I stopped taking photos and just watched the president walk off the plane and onto the tarmac. Everyone was quiet, snapping photos or getting a video feed ready.
At that moment I said, “Good Afternoon Mr. President” I wasn’t expecting a response, but then he stopped, turned to the risers where we all were, looked me right in the eye, waved and said, “Hey how Ya’ Doin?”
Everyone on the riser looked at me and I didn’t know what to say. Deep inside, I was filled with pride that this Colombian-born Philly native had a brief presidential moment to remember for a lifetime.
To President Obama I say thank you for your years of service to this country. You did all you could despite odds and opposition to truly make this country great. You also gave me that extra spark in my craft to truly believe that dreams can come true. If you need some post presidential photos done, I’m there!