Ecco Barack Before Obama: Life Before the Presidency Ecco Barack Before Obama: Life Before the Presidency
Ecco Barack Before Obama: Life Before the Presidency Ecco Barack Before Obama: Life Before the Presidency

Barack Before Obama: Life Before the Presidency

By David Katz

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A personal, intimate, photographic celebration of President Barack Obama in the years prior to his presidency, from friend and former aide David Katz.


From 2004 to 2008, David Katz worked alongside then senate-hopeful Barack Obama as a personal aide, an unofficial documentarian, and a friend. During this time, the President and Katz spent approximately six days per week campaigning across downstate Illinois and developed a close, personal relationship. What began as two friends mounting a longshot senate run culminated with the election of America’s first African-American president in 2008.


During this time, David was never without his camera, capturing quotidian scenes from the life of a man who would soon become known the world over: a dad playing with his small daughters; a young, unknown politician walking the streets of New York by himself with no one noticing; a devoted husband lovingly making faces at his wife in an elevator mirror; messy offices and midnight burger runs. In 2004, after seeing the personal and touching photographs David had amassed, Annie Leibovitz gave him some advice: “Don’t release these photos of Obama for at least fifteen years. They need time to age.”


Now, fifteen years later, Barack Before Obama is the treasury of these photographs, a collection of images that illustrate the making of an American icon. Pulled from an archive of over 90,000 images, every photograph in this collection is like nothing that has been seen before: the ease in which David captures the spirit and essence of one of our most beloved first families is unparalleled, and it is in this affectionate familiarity that his photographs sing. Warm, engaging captions tell the stories behind the photos—the surprise meeting with Nelson Mandela, the back room conversation before the rally, the emotion after sending one of the girls off to school—that bring readers closer than ever to the spirit and motivation behind the extraordinary man who became our 44th president.


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