Michelle Obama's little-known private side revealed in previously unseen White House photos

Michelle Obama

Chloe Farand, The Independent

Former White House photographer says Michelle Obama taught her to turn challenges into strengths rather than weaknesses

After spending eight years in the spotlight as America's First Lady, Michelle Obama remains a role model for millions of women in the US and around the world.

One woman who has been close to her during the last four years of Barack Obama's presidency has revealed a side of the former First Lady few have had a chance to see.

Amanda Lucidon worked as the only female White House photographer between 2012 and 2016 and has captured some of the intimate moments shared by the Obama family during that time.

Speaking out about her time with Ms Obama to NPR News, she described her as "one of the most genuine, compassionate and thoughtful people".

"She has a way of just making everyone feel so comfortable and special and loved," she said.

Ms Lucidon admitted she was intimated by Ms Obama's presence and how "wonderful, tall and pretty" she was when she first met her, adding many people laughed, cried or struggled to speak upon meeting her.

But "she just has this way of just calming everything right down and just making people feel loved," she added.

In a new book Chasing Light, the Washington photographer shares 150 behind-the-scenes shots of Ms Obama, many of which have never been seen before.

Explaining why she decided to publish the book, Ms Lucidon said the four years she spent at the White House "went by so quickly" the book had enabled her to plunge herself back into some of the moments spent with the Obama family.

She added the process of making the book had also been a way to reflect on the lessons she learned from observing Ms Obama navigating everyday challenges during her time in the White House.

Ms Lucidon revealed that the biggest lesson she learned from Ms Obama was "to look on our challenges that we experience in life as our strengths, and not our weaknesses".

"You know, when we sort of embrace that," she added, "we can see the resilience that we built through those experiences. And with resilience, we can really overcome anything."
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