- Portraits of the First Lady of the United States  -
Michelle Obama

U.S. photographer James Bareham was commissioned by Nilay Patel of The Verge to shoot a series of portraits of the First Lady on location in the formal dining room of the White House in Washington, DC.

These photographs were an integral part of an exclusive feature created by The Verge to illustrate just how well the First Lady has mastered social media. The final feature comprised of James’s photo shoot; a 3000 word feature written by Kwame Opam; and the ‘pièce de résistance’: an incredible 360 video interview complete with custom animations and graphics.

The opening photograph was first sketched out as a concept while I was on the New York subway heading to the first pre-production meeting. After the portrait shoot at the White House with the First Lady, I shot a series of hands holding various smart phones in The Verge’s studio and then cut out and comped together all of the resulting images in Photoshop.

To counter this conceptual nature of the lede image, I also took a ’selfie’ shot of the First Lady with some of her White House team. The resulting image is actually one single frame. Nothing—apart from some basic grading and clean up—has been added or removed. And the same is largely true of the portraits of the First Lady; I wanted to make sure that everything was as natural as possible.

Despite the conceptual lede image, these images really do accurately convey the fact that we did take an orange background into the White House to photograph this remarkable and inspiring woman.


Design By : Commissioned by: Nilay Patel / The Verge Photographer: James Bareham / Retouching: James Bareham / David Fish (cut-outs) / Executive Producer: Tre Shallowhorn on  8 January, 2017


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