About a month ago, I took a call asking if I was available on the 3rd of December for some work. I had to shuffle some things around to fit it in, but it turned out to be the highest profile event of my career to date, Michelle Obama was in town.
She was visiting London as part of her book launch and public show at the Southbank Centre. Ahead of the evening event at the Southbank Centre she was set to visit The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School as part of the Penguin Talks series, which invites their bestselling authors into schools to inspire students. I had previously shot some high profile events with Penguin with the likes of Richard Branson, Yuval Harari and Russell Brand, but this was on another scale.
She had visited the same school back in 2009, resulting in her inviting some very lucky staff and students back to The White House in Washington and developing a very strong relationship with the school.
The worlds press were in attendance, secret service agents everywhere and after a briefing from her team I was set to photograph the ex First Lady of the United States! I had free reign of the room, whilst the press were kept on a platform at the rear of the hall, meaning I was in a very privileged position with great access to FLOTUS44 shooting for both Penguin and her press team.
The most unexpected moment for me came after the main event was finished, I'd just finished shooting the rope walk and I was immediately asked to follow her and her team into a lift backstage. We went up a few floors to a much smaller theatre where some of the school staff we're waiting. Michelle Obama then had some personal moments with the staff memebers, thanked them for having her and promised to return in the future.
As it stands, I'm still waiting to hear what I can share from the day (if anything) but, sooner or later I hope to be able to use some of the imagery - and I will do, just as soon as I'm given the go ahead! (UPDATE: Images now added)
On the train home, I had a message saying I'd made it on the News at 10 - you can see the clip below where I pop up in the background for a quick shot or two, and they promptly shared some of my images on the official MichelleObama Instagram account.
There should be plenty more to come from this event! What an experience!!
Back soon, Will