tv Amanda Lucidon Chasing Light CSPAN December 16, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am EST
thank you very much. it's been a real pleasure. i look forward to reading more. so thank you and thank you for being on c-span today. >> guest: my pleasure. i enjoyed it very much. .. will be available. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider.
>> good evening, everyone, and welcome to the princeton public library, it is my honor on behalf of the executive director, assistant director erika beth and the rest of the staff to welcome you to this each's program. before i introduce our speaker, things in order, first and foremost thanks to incredible team for teaching out to library and hosting talk. we knew we wanted to be a part. as i'm sure everyone in this room is well aware, michelle attended pris tone university just up the street from 1981 to 1985 so seemed fitting to have
photographs in public library and take part in book tour that looks at her life in the white house. thanks also to the art's council of princeton for hanging photographs in reading room for us. the exhibit will be on view through december 3rd and, of course, things also in order. we invite everyone to visit the reading room which is across the hallway so you can see the photos up close and personal once we are finished with the formal part of the evening. my great pleasure to introduce you amanda lucidon, for four years she was the only female photographer on white house staff and tasked to covering first lady michelle obama. in fact, she is only one of very few female photographers in history. 2013 to 2017.
award-winning documentarian. she attended indiana university of pennsylvania, she also studied photography at art institute of philadelphia. work has been honored by pictures of the year international, best of journalism and the white house news photographers association among several others. she is currently a photographer, film-maker and public speaker based out of washington, d.c. we want to welcome amanda to princeton. we are so glad that you are here. [applause] >> thank you. thanks for having me here at this beautiful library and thank you for all of you to come tonight. thanks to my team at ten speed
for helping me create this beautiful book and the exhibit that travels with it. one of the points of having this book was to make it as accessible as possible and that's why i'm traveling around to public libraries. so i think what i like to do is maybe answer some of the questions that i get quite often and the first one is, how did you get a job like that, did anyone else have that question? a few people, right? i have no idea. i'm still pinching myself that it actually happened. but for me i think an important story to tell is that i was a freelance photographer and first i was working for a newspaper. i took a buyout from the newspaper business and move today washington, d.c. to start my own freelance photography business. i knew it would be a place that would have a lot of opportunities but i forgot to
account that it's also super competitive. so i was doing freelance photography work and that was the work that was paying the bills but i was always doing what i call passion projects, projects that were important to me. even though that was the work that wasn't being funded, that was actually the work that began to win me awards and bring neglect in influential circles in the photography community and at one of the events i met pete souza, he was the chief white house photographer for president obama. i met him once at this event and two years later hi called -- he called and asked me if i wanted to apply for the job.
hi, amanda, this is pete souza. of course, i would love to apply for the job and then, you know, surprisingly i got to spend the next four years photographing president obama as well as mrs. obama. i spent most of my time photographing mrs. obama. but i got to travel to countries and got to see cities that i dreamed to visit. that's probably the most popular question i get. let me adjust this a little bit. the other question i get is, what's your favorite photo and i only have one child but it's sort of like asking what's your favorite child to a mother. [laughter] >> it depends on the day and how i feel. [laughter] >> and there's probably a favorite but i'm not going to tell you. so -- so instead of telling you
my favorite photos, i will tell you about the kinds of photos that i like to make. i like to make pictures that, you know, it would be easy for me to focus on the first lady. i'm just going take this off here, if i can. maybe not. is the mic okay? yeah. oh it would be easy for me to focus on the first lady because she is so extraordinary and so beautiful and, but what i noticed is the way the people react to her. if i was always focusing on her face i would be missing the way people are react to go her and i remember the first time that i met her and sort of how i, you know, felt and i was thinking or what i don't remember what i said, but, you know, at the white house i would see time and time again how people react and i love for picture because the students are part of a program called turn around art's program
and -- sorry they came to the white house to perform. the turn-around art's program is a program that goes to the lowest-performing schools in the country and it's been proven that if you infuse the art that it can actually turn the schools around. so these students were part of orchard garden school and had improved through the pilot program. they had just performed in a room next door and they did a poem and a dance and, you know, their poem was about not judging a book by its cover, about not letting circumstances define you and so mrs. obama was really moved by it and after the event, she said, you know, where are the students, i want to go surprise them. so i was following right behind
her and i heard her say, they were in the map room, i scooted right in front of her and into the room and a few second later she walked in and said, hey, everybody, what are y'all doing in here? they erupted with joy. so you can see -- i like living in all these faces, you know, it's like there's such joy in each one of these -- in each one of these children's faces. >> i hear some people laughing. so what do you -- what do you feel when you look at this
picture? fun. having a good time. joy. everyone loves dogs. [laughter] >> can someone just help me with this mic, it's a little distracting to me. okay. all right. technology is so important, right, sometimes it doesn't work, but i'm here now. i'm in it. all right. joy. so, you know, this was one of -- this was early on that i took this picture and it was probably the first time that i looked at mrs. obama and i said, oh, my gosh, she is just like everybody
else. i have a dog and i love my dogs and a lot of times we set for events to cover in the white house where we would do a taping like a public service announcement or, you know, a video that would run on tv and sometimes that was the white house tv doing that and sometimes it was someone from outside that came in to do the taping, so this time we were setting up to -- for the easter egg roll. there was a message about the easter egg roll, and what i soon found out was -- these seem to be pretty predictable environments but there was always a chance that something spontaneous was going to happen especially when it involved president obama or the dogs. so for this picture in particular, bo is set up -- bo is always ready to have his picture taken and sunny is the younger dog and she always had her own ideas of what she wanted to do. this is a picture where she was trying to get sunny to sit up and be ready for the video.
i always like taking candid shots. for me this is a picture that i go to when i want to feel joy. surprise. so this picture is -- we traveled around to innovative garden programs that were at schools and mrs. obama always seemed to, you know, have this luck, luck, we would land in the plane, it would be raining and the skies would be dark and this was an event we were going to outside on a rooftop garden and then somehow we get off the plane and the skies would part and the sun would come out and, so we were able to do -- participate in compos exercise and they asked mrs. obama if she wanted to have gloves and she said, i don't need gloves. they were demonstrating and she
just picked up the worm, they found it, the worm, she picked it up and august of wind came and put all her hair flying in the air, so that was -- i feel like i got lucky with that moment, but i like having images that have, you know, some surprise. again, seeing, you know, again going back to people don't have to see, you know, that this is mrs. obama, it's just her arm, right, but that face, that face, those teeth -- [laughter] >> right? i mean, you don't really need to say much more than that. she's glowing, she's admiration and those are the kind of fun photos. this was at the national zoo and they were there to name the new panda and so i just love the way
that she's looking up at her. and then this picture, this was a group of girls from liberia and morocco. and we went to liberia and morocco as part of the girl's learn initiative, 62 million girls don't have the opportunity to get an education. and so -- so they were actually invited to watch -- there was a documentary made about this and they were actually invited to the white house to watch this documentary. i mean, these girls that we met from liberia, they hadn't been out of their own town yet on a plane and in the white house. they were thrilled to be there. this is a picture that you can sort of live in all of the faces. that's what i love about photos. you can rediscover something
new. i noticed the other day that i had always looked at the girls' faces, wonder and joy and shock and disbelief and i just saw this -- i never noticed her before and i was like, she's a teacher, she's not looking at mrs. obama, she's looking at her students and she's so proud. and that's -- i mean, that's what teachers can do and that's what mentors can do and that's what people in our community can do, librarians can do and it took me a while to find that but i'm sure maybe in a couple of weeks i might discover something else looking at this picture or maybe you'll discover something and you can share that with me. [laughter]
>> so i think people think official white house photographer, that sounds like it could be boring, so when i edited the book, i wanted to make sure none of the books felt official, felt candid, those are the pictures that i like to make. i photographed the president and mrs. obama at a podium many times but there's something different about the picture. what's different? those shoes. she took the shoes off. what color is the toenail polish? it's blue. [laughter] >> so i didn't expect that and so that's why i like being you always have to be ready because something could surprise you and this was surprising to me and i included it in the book.
i like to make pictures that are visually interesting. so this is a picture that i took at the milan expo, the world expo in milan and it was called the mirror room and it's made up of a bunch of mirrors and also a projector so there's constantly projecting new scenes on the back or on the wall so each scene probably lasts maybe 10 seconds, 5 to 10 second. so, you know, the interesting challenge was how do you disappear in a room full of mirrors as the photographer? because you don't see me in there, right? so -- so i found a crack in the room where two mirrors meet, i turned sideways and made myself as small as possible and i
thought thin thoughts. [laughter] >> and it worked. and it worked. yeah. so i also realized that as the white house photographer you're in a very -- you're in a very special position that you have access to space that other people don't have access to, so this is the kennedy center honors at the kennedy center in washington, d.c. and we have all seen on tv but we have seen from the other side of the door when president obama and mrs. obama walk out and they wave to the crowd, but this is actually a photograph from the presidential box. so at that point there was me, a staff member and then the secret service agent who -- who doesn't really worry about how much time i have to take a picture. it was really just two frames
and the door was closed. that's the thing about always being ready and always looking and trying to show something that's a little bit different. i like that photo for this reason. i like to make those kinds of images. moments of quiet reflection. so this is in cambodia. and for me i got to travel to so many places that i had only seen in magazines as a kid, so to be afforded, you know, what a unique experience but also to be there with mrs. obama was such a privilege and, you know, i like this image because it feels very quiet and you wonder or i wonder, what was she thinking. and i don't know who she was thinking. i know what i was thinking, though, i was thinking how lucky i am in life to be in such a
special place and to have such a special experience and, you know, to be in a place that's, you know, so old and so full of history and so rich with culture was extraordinary privilege. i like when people say, oh, to your photos. [laughter] >> it warms my heart. but that's how i feel about this picture too. oh, you know, because as serious and important role as mrs. obama had as first lady, being a mother was the most important to her. i feel like this picture -- i hope this picture shows that. we were on the great wall of china. this was my first international trip and i wanted to do the very
good job and i was the only official photographer traveling and when you travel you do encounter obstacles and it's constantly like brushing yourself off and getting back up again and keep going, just keep going and always be ready and then when you are, you get rewarded or i feel like i got rewarded with a picture like this. this is one of my favorites and mrs. obama, sasha, malia were looking out in the distance to the wall and mrs. obama said, amanda, would you take a picture of us, shortly after that she just grabbed her girls in for a big hug and i picked my camera up and picked a couple refrains, i like this one much better than the close picture. [laughter] >> does anybody know this picture?
what emotion does this picture evoke? love. so that's what i think is -- if you take president obama and mrs. obama out of the picture, or you forget who they are, maybe you put yourself in the picture, maybe that's how you want to feel, you know, that's how we all want to feel when we are in love. and i hope that pictures transcends those messages and maybe we can look a little bit deeper. going back to the liberian girls that i was telling you about. we arrived in liberia, a place
in africa that i wanted to go my whole life, so much so that when i got there, when i was 37, can i sit in the cockpit, we are really going to need pictures of this and they let me. [laughter] >> i got to make the pictures flying in and landing in dirt and we had 45 minutes to get to the school and most of the roads were washed out, so obviously the motorcade drivers and the secret services agents were pretty, you know, nervous about that, but we made it to the school and -- and we met these girls and the school had no electricity and you can't tell from this photo but there's a wall here that just had blocks and that's how the light is coming in. it's really dark specially
because of the rainstorm. i always have a flash with me but i didn't use the flash in this situation because it's not about me getting the pictures, it's keeping the intimacy. but, you know, there is dirt floor, there was hardly any books and -- but these girls were proud of this school. some of them had to walk two hours, sometimes through dangerous situations. a lot of the girls don't get to study after they are done their shores an often times by candle light so i was really inspired by the girls and i know that mrs. obama was too and these are the girls that i made the book for. so when i was presented the unique opportunity to make the book, you know, i was asked, you
know, how big i wanted it to be, did i want a coffee table book, did i want an art book and for me it was all about accessibility. if these girls are going to carry the book for two hours in their backpacks, i wanted it to be lightweight. you notice it doesn't have a dust jacket, how many of us have struggled with the dust jacket even in the best circumstances, right? i wanted to keep it at a price point that was accessible, affordable and for those who still can't afford to purchase the book, i wanted them to be able to get it at libraries which is why it's so important to be here and to be traveling around. you'll get to see the exhibit to and what's really cool about that is those are the exact same size prints and the same way we framed them at the white house. we took all of these photos and there's 4 million photos in the obama archives. yes, that's a lot, right?
every three weeks we would go through images, editors, editing team and pick best pictures and they would hang in the hallways in east and west wing. it was very cool when people stopped because everyone in the white house worked hard to accomplish so much and they don't really get a chance to celebrate what they've just done because they're already working on the next thing so the pictures were a great reminder of what they had accomplished or what he had done or what we had seen so it was always great people stopping and looking at pictures and always great to see pictures hanging in the wall and especially great if the person was mrs. obama or president obama. i would just sort of like secretly cheer and kind of -- i didn't see that. [laughter] >> but -- so that's the explanation of the book and how it was made and why it was designed the way it was and going back to this picture, the
turn-around art students, mrs. obama, president obama said to work really hard and once you do well, make sure to turn around and reach back and help others and so this opportunity has allowed me to do that. i'm -- i've been recently named turn-around artist i will be assigned to a school so i can help students like this to share passion of photography and arts and proceeds will be donated. we will also be visiting turn-around art schools. so that concludes my presentation, but there's still plenty of time for questions. do we have a microphone? >> did you develop an ongoing relationship where you might at this time still maybe share an e-mail with mrs. obama or get a
note from her? >> mrs. obama and president obama were such an inspiration in my life that i don't see that that relationship ever disappears, so i'm very grateful to have had that experience and that relationship. >> what cities out west did you go to? what cities in the country did you go out to? >> while we were traveling? >> yes. >> gosh, so many. you know, probably i would say maybe visited like 100, 150 cities so, you know, we visited all kinds of places and through all the different initiatives and what city are you specially interested? i can probably tell you a story about each city.
la, arizona, yeah, we were pretty much -- portland. we traveled everywhere, so there's always need to walk on the plane -- air force one and see the name card that says welcome to air force one, ms. lucidon. and so, you know, we got -- i traveled to so many places and meet so many people. >> i'm curious about the ownership of these photos. you were the official photographer. the photographs i'm sure are in the official record. how is it -- how is the copyright shared? >> so like i said there was 4 million pictures in the obama archives and we were releasing
them in a smaller way, white house.gov and i have seen other books that are made that actually include some of my photos, so those pictures are open to the public and then the pictures that haven't been released yet, i got permission from the white house to use those images. and then the story also is like, you copy right as a collection, so -- >> i have a question regarding the title. >> sure. >> does the first lady have -- had anything to do with it, with the title? did she -- >> yes, she was -- she was one of the -- she's one to have lights, you know, for me, you know, chasing light represents a really transformative time in my life. as a photographer, photography actually means to draw with light and as a photographer you
could be chasing light your whole career. for me the deeper meaning is being drawn by people who are lights in our lives, being pushed to be the person that maybe you're not sure you can be. mrs. obama was an inspiration for me and -- and i think that she helped me become that person, you know, i've sort of figured along the way that i thought i was chasing this light but then i recognized that i was the light too and all of us are the light and we can all share the light. >> but did she -- >> no. [laughter] >> so was there ever a time when you were getting ready to take a photo and you froze. [laughter] >> like the microphone earlier?
i don't think i ever froze. i think i recognized early on, i'm glad that you asked the question, i followed a colleague of mine lawrence jackson, first time in mrs. obama's presence, i was there to watch and learn and i saw the way people react today her, some people laughed and some people cried. a long photo line of about 300 people there to meet her and there was going to be post photos. i didn't take any pictures and i watched the line of people come through and some people couldn't speak and some people were crying and some people were fanning themselves and i just realized in that moment, you know, i felt that way the first time i met her too but i'm not going to be able to do my job effectively if i freeze. if that's the role that i'm here to do and that's my responsibility, i can't freeze.
[laughter] >> so i learned that pretty early. sometimes people ask, like, do you ever feel like you missed a shot, you know, and the truth of the answer is, well, sure, there's stuff happening all of the time. i mean, just to try to explain to you how this happens it's like we go somewhere and a motorcade, long line of black cars, you're supposed to know which black car you have to jump into and my car or the car that i'm riding in, not my car, the car that i'm riding in it's a few four, five back. when we arrive at the scene, i jump out and i try to run ahead of mrs. obama so that i can get in the door and who she is going to be meeting and be positioned to get the right picture, right, and so i'm 5'4 and so even when mrs. obama is walking, i'm still
running. [laughter] >> so there's sometimes, you know, things are happening in between that time and it's like you don't have -- you're not always getting, i wish i got that shot but quickly recover and there's going to be something else to get a beautiful shot. when i look back in my time there, i don't feel that there was a moment in history where i was like, oh, i really missed that. and for the bigger events, you know, like a state arrivals, we had a team of five photographers, so often times we were set up in different places so someone would be head on, someone would be left side, the right side, behind and that way we can make sure that for history we covered it, we covered all the angles, so in those cases if you ever froze or missed the moment, hopefully someone else got it for the collection, for the archive so thanks for that question. >> if i could ask two questions, one is that between -- what
would your parents be thinking as you're growing up and between then and pete souza calling you because we know that there are fewer photographers that can make a living and the second how many photos did you take and how did you go about choosing them? >> both great questions. i actually tell a story about my dad in the beginning of the book and the last conversation i had with my father was about president barack obama. my dad and i never really talked about politics so it was an unusual conversation. a night before the inauguration in 2008 and, 2009, and he said that he reminded him of his father and that he was a man of integrity and that he felt that the world was changing and so i
went to the inauguration and at the time i didn't have credentials, probably the first time in my career since i had moved from one coast to another and started -- kind of started over with my own business and i didn't have credentials and i wanted to cover it because it was news and history and i went out like everyone else and i woke up early, i got on the bus, i stood out in the cold and i made some -- i made pictures and i felt the energy of everybody there that was there to witness history and i tried to call my father on the way home and all the phones were jammed because everyone else was probably trying to call their mom or dad or boyfriend or friends too and actually my father passed away the next morning of a heart attack, and so i learned later that he spent the night watching
the obamas go from ball to ball to ball to ball and he wasn't watching the way everyone else in the way america was watching, he wasn't looking at the way he was celebrating, he was scanning the background trying to look for his daughter who he thought might be a photographer in the room. but my dad didn't know i still had a long way to go to make it in dc as a photographer and -- and so i think, you know, i think back on that time and then i think, well, maybe he actually knew something all along when pete actually called me up. so i'm sad that he wasn't able to know that i -- to be there for that experience, but i actually did bring him into the white house with me. i showed a picture earlier on of my father, i actually had it in my suit pocket. i folded this picture of him and so any time i'd get nervous or
overwhelmed, or take myself a little too seriously, i'd reach into my pocket and take out the picture of my dad and look at it and it was a silly picture of him making a funny face. [laughter] >> and so, you know, i did take him to the white house with me and it actually answers your second question, rainbows were really special in our family, rainbows reminded me of my father and so when i was editing the book to go through so many thousands and thousands of pictures, i picked out the pictures that felt like rainbows to me, you know, so there were pictures that made me happy, that made me feel something that revealed something, that felt special and so that's how i edited down to 150 pictures so thank you for that question. >> hi, i wanted to confirm what i think i heard earlier which --
the first female photographers of the white house photographers, is that true? >> thank you, thanks for asking -- >> what i wanted to ask if that's true -- >> it's not true. >> okay. >> just to clarify, during my time there i was the only female photographer, so during last four years, there were two female photographers before me, sonia and samantha and i would say probably in history there's been about 50 white house photographers and even fewer of them are women, so it is -- there aren't that many people who have had this experience which has been -- i've reached out to other female photographers who had the role to get their advice so maybe that will answer your next question. >> i was just curious are they always assign today cover the fist lady and what's the significance of that, the female
-- >> that just depends. the chief photographer handles all of that. i know there's female photographers that cover the vice president or male photographers that cover the first lady. it really depends on how it's structured in each administration. >> hi, i would like to know if you ever took photos of mrs. obama and her mother and with her mother and daughter, three generations together and my other question at the inauguration where they got out of the car along the road, did you take the photos of that as well? >> the first inauguration? so i got the opportunity to travel with mrs. obama and mrs. robinson joins us sometimes
too as well as sasha and malia and i have taken pictures of the three generations and to answer your second question, i started after the second inauguration so i didn't get those pictures but i also loved them too. >> forgive me if you already mentioned this and i didn't hear it. i was curious about your working day, were you expected to come in at every day at 8:00 a.m. and wait for staff member to say, something is coming up or would they schedule you ahead of time, come tuesday or friday, there's a motorcade? was it a full-time job? >> it was a full-time job, it wasn't a typical job. it wasn't a 9:00 to 5:00 p.m. shift monday through friday.
we knew what the schedule would be which was different than the press. we did know when events were happening. obviously when you're covering things, things change in the world, there might be a statement, there might be something that president obama or mrs. obama is react to go but for the most part we knew most of the things that were coming up and we would structure our days along those events. if it was a long day for us, it was a long week for us and if they were traveling on the weekend, we were traveling on the weekend too. four years where i didn't see very much of my family. [laughter] >> i'm grateful that they also appreciated what a personal role that it was to be able to have this opportunity, so it was -- what i can say, there were sometimes slow days and busy -- and there was a lot of times busy days, slow days could
become busy days pretty quickly so you always had to be ready. >> i was fascinated by the picture in the mirror room because the two women were looking at each other and not at the magnificent mirror image. and who was the other woman? >> the prime minister's wife of italy, yes. >> how much -- how much access did you have to the living quarters, private rooms? >> so those were spaces that when we were invited to, so it could be like mrs. obama was hosting a spouse for tea, we got invited to the yellow oval. that was a space reserved as their space and you were there when you were invited to be
there, so, yeah. >> a more general question about the role of the photographer. we have seen pictures from other administrations where at the oval office they are maybe in discussions or heated arguments and so on, were there any times when sensitive discussions were going on and they asked, maybe they didn't realize you were in the room or the photographers in the room, what happens in situations like that? >> like i said, we were in a really trusted role so there was never -- there was never a time where we told not to take any pictures. the time i came on, it was the second administration so i think they had been so used to having a camera around that we really could be the fly on the wall and for me there was sometimes where it was intimate setting, i could have easily put on a flash, when a flash comes on, everyone notices that, it sort of disrupts what's happening. just always being mindful of what's happening in the room and
respectful of what's happening but -- but you're still able to make pictures and you still know that those are important moments to make. i guess when you are in those really important scenes to just take a breath and know how important it is and always have the dowrnlg make the -- courage to make the picture. >> so i have a question, so like you mrs. obama has invited me a lot, i even have quotes on my wall. so during your time at the white house, did you ever take a selfie with mrs. obama? >> oh gosh, i wish i did. [laughter] >> she did take a lot of selfies. one thing about mrs. obama and i admire too, we would go to events all over the world and
she'd give a talk and then afterwards there's something called rope line, everyone lines up to meet her and people would be wait to go take a selfie or get a hug and what i thought was great is that, you know, mrs. obama always took the time to meet with those people and, you know, i think that's so important because it wasn't ideal for the staff member that might have been minding her time but she would always say, you don't know what that means to the person who is there, you know, you don't know what they are going through in their life or what a kind word means or a hug or a selfie and so she took time to do those things and i really admire that about her and i wish i had got a selfie, i wish i had met you a couple of years ago and i would have known, i do have post pictures that my colleagues have taken and i'm so grateful because i'm always behind the camera and even like a really special moment like my daughter, i got to bring my daughter when she was two week's old to meet
president obama and mrs. obama. i'm so grateful that i have those pictures as peek sakes. >> you mentioned that you actually like rainbows. do you recall seeing the actual rainbows during your travel? >> yes, i do. >> do you recall when and where? >> yes, jamaica. it was a rainbow picture that i made a picture. i was traveling with president obama and pete souza and so we landed in jamaica and we were -- sometimes we would fly in helicopters to get to access places or to save, you know, time in the motorcades like -- because of road conditions and stuff like that, so our helicopters always landed a little bit sooner than the president obama's helicopter, so on this day i remember in jim -- jamaica we landed and there was
a perfect rainbow above air force one and i knew that it was probably going to go away soon and the president's helicopter didn't land yet, i was like crossing my fingers, come on, get here, they were looking at the rainbow and pete was making pictures of the delegation looking at the rainbow. i framed this picture. i always want to be in a different place than pete, i want to complement his work, he's down at the bottom of the steps, where can i be that shows something different? i was at the back of the plane and i framed this image with the wing of the plane and the rainbow coming perfectly down and, you know, if president obama just walked up the steps he would be like perfectly framed in a rainbow and so, you knowinger he's on the ground and they are looking at the rainbow, you know how long a rainbow lasts, and i was like, oh, no, it's not going to last and i'm like please, please walk up the
stairs into the rainbow. [laughter] >> and sure enough, he did. the rainbow lasted. and i took this picture, one of my favorites too, that he's perfectly illuminated in a rainbow in the mass of air force one and so once i took the picture and i knew i got it, i said, thanks, dad. [laughter] >> so i just want to say that i've taken notice of the way that you frame what it is you do and that you say that you make pictures. i think the comment is taking pictures and i absolutely love that you say that you make pictures because you absolutely do with all of the elements that are there. >> thank you, thank you. i appreciate that. >> is that rainbow picture
online? >> it is. if i go home and google obama rainbow? >> all the rainbow pictures. sometimes -- sometimes there's only -- you only get to choose one for the day, what's the photo of the day, one of the things we always put out, it's only one picture, so he actually wrote this blog about how he was having a hard time picking them and so he included my picture in the mix and so, yeah, you can still find that picture online. [laughter] >> and was it designed for you and pete to have your books come out at the same time or was that just a happy coincidence? >> yeah, i think happy coincidence. so glad that before pete left for his trip, that he dropped off a book for me and i kind of lined up the covers and i was like, wow, i didn't notice this but if you line them up, they are staring adoringly at each other, sort of perfect.
[laughter] >> yeah, i have pete's other books on my shelves and my husband and i, we got the special edition too, so, yeah, we have a whole shelf of obama books, so i hope you have them too. [laughter] >> any other questions? >> okay, thank you. [applause] >> so thank you so much, amanda, for sharing those beautiful photographs of mrs. obama, of your journeys with them. i'm sure it's something that all of us wish we could have done ourselves. yeah, i'm pretty sure. [laughter] >> so right now what we are going to do is reading room is
to the right, please go in and look at the photographs, as amanda says it's a special exhibit that her publisher put together because the photographs are as they would be hung in the white house. kind of like you are viewing the white house wall and then also, please, there's going to be a signing line outside, copies, great gift giving and the holiday season is coming up, so what better than a signed book, books are the best gift that you can give. amanda thank you for the gift of tonight for sharing your journey with us, we hope to see everybody back soon at the princeton library and thank you, c-span. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> thank you. [laughter] >> sorry, i had mic issues at first. okay. that's good.
[laughter] >> okay. it's c-span. [laughter] >> okay. [inaudible conversations] >> here is a look at some of the best books of the year according to the financial times, historian examines how the cold war continues to impact foreign affairs. william, chronical it is life of the former soviet leader. harvard law school professor, argues social media is creating new threats to democracy in #republic. stanford university, american history professor richard white provides history of reconstruction and the gilded age and in destined for war, harvard university, offers thoughts on likelihood of the u.s. and china going to war against each other as china's
power increases. >> in the case of u.s. and china, i think every day goes noise and news about what's happening in this relationship, either north korea testing missiles or china becomes the number one trading partner of germany or there's a new collusion in south china sea or whatever. if there's some way to look beneath the surface of the daily news to see something of structure or sub structure of what's driving these events and i came upon the idea that let that insight help illuminate what's happening today in the relationship with china, rising power. it's threatening to displace a ruling power.
that's oldest history itself. so founder of history as we know it, the conflict between athens and sparta. he said, quote, it was the rise of athens and the fear that this instilled in sparta that made the war inevitable. so he identified a dynamic in which a rising power feels, bigger, stronger, thinks, well, deserve more weight, arrangements that were set before i was bigger and stronger, are confining, unfair. the ruling power thinks this upstart is trying to upset the situation that's actually provided the environment in
which it's able to vote. >> many authors have appeared on book tv, you can watch them on our website, booktv.org. >> white house historian, you have two new books, blare house and white house of stone. what is the blare house? >> well, the blare house is the president's guest house since 1942. before that it was an old family home and still furnished with the family's possessions but it's been renovated in the 80's and 90's into first-class hotel even though it seems like a house but has distinguished history. all sorts of things happened, first andrew jackson was a frequent visitor and then abraham lincoln. the family was very political. >> how did it become the president's guest house if it was a private residence? >> well, it was doomed. the state department was going to take the whole block and
there were two historic houses there, decatur house and blare, both occupied by people and blare was the last to live there and him and franklin d. roosevelt were friends and the idea came up of -- of overflow from the white house. blare himself never lived to see that but roosevelt certainly did and it's been used. president truman lived there while the white house was being renovated. an attempt in his life and since then every head of the state stays there. it's like a home. not a great place like the white house. >> so now about your book, a white house of stone, where did
the stones to build the white house come from? >> 40 miles from the potomic. the center of it is government island. it was purchased by the government in 1791 to build the federal city and this book is about the stones, that built the white house, how they were extracted, towed up the river. >> what are some of the distinct features of the stones? >> not very good stone. it's not terribly good stone but sand stone and it was near and george washington was in a big hurry to have the capital built, which was the paris of america, which the sand stone which is moderately good was what was near and what cus -- was cut. when he got to the white house the skill of the mason became
evident. beautiful carvings of flowers, put the trademark on the house with scottish roads, the first double pedal roads and decorates the whole white house in the stone room. >> so you've written quite a bit about the white house, what sparked your interest in the white house? >> a single place where a lot happened. it's that simple and i had the opportunity the do a two-volume book years ago and i continued with edited journal and i've done a couple more books on the white house and which you all have been very kind to review and it's a subject that's always interest me. if the house stays the same and the character changes and it's
internally interesting, you know. >> every weekend book tv offers programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. keep watching for more on c-span2 and watch any of our past programs online at booktv.org. .. ..s >> welcome to the heritage foundation. we welcome those who join us on the heritage.org website.