Photographer Lawrence Jackson

 

THE TENURE OF THE FIRST WOMAN, first Black, and first Asian American to serve as Vice President of the United States will be visually documented by a Black photographer. Lawrence Jackson was named photographer to Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on Jan. 15. The Biden-Harris transition announced a number of White House staff appointments, including members of its communications, press, photo, and digital strategy teams.

“To meet the unprecedented challenges facing our nation, we need to communicate clearly and honestly with the American people. These appointees are dedicated public servants who will help us deliver on our commitment to contain the coronavirus pandemic, create an economy that works for working people, and rebuild our country in a way that lifts up all Americans. I’m proud to serve the American people alongside them in the White House,” Harris said in a statement.

Jackson has been serving as staff photographer to Harris on the Biden-Harris Campaign. He brings formidable White House experience to his new role. The appointment marks a return to the White House. For eight years, Jackson was a staff photographer in the White House Photo Office during the Obama administration. He was the only Black photographer on staff during the two terms of the first Black President.

Prior to working for the Obama White House, he was a photojournalist for the Associated Press in Boston, Mass., and Washington, and also worked The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.

In the intervening years, Jackson was a freelance, Washington-based editorial and political photographer. During the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary, he did some work for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He has also been photographing for the Obama Foundation.

Jackson published “Yes We Did: Photos and Behind-the-Scenes Stories Celebrating Our First African American President” in 2019. President Obama wrote the foreword to the volume.

“Lawrence has a talent for capturing the big scene, the iconic images that will help explain our times for future generations,” Obama wrote. “But he also has a unique gift for capturing those quieter moments—the margins of a big event, the pauses in a busy day, some stolen time with Michelle and our girls.”

“Lawrence has a talent for capturing the big scene, the iconic images that will help explain our times for future generations. But he also has a unique gift for capturing those quieter moments—the margins of a big event, the pauses in a busy day, some stolen time with Michelle and our girls.”
— President Barack Obama


Oct. 27, 2020: Sen. Kamala Harris speaks at a Get Out the Vote event in Las Vegas, Nev. | Photo by Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President

 

Born and raised in Richmond, Va., Jackson got his first camera at 14 or 15-years old, he recalled. In “Yes We Can,” he wrote that his mother gave him a 35 mm, Pentax K1000 for Christmas. It was “black and silver-bodied with a 50 mm lens.” The camera “was a stretch financially,” Jackson wrote, “but she knew how much it meant for me to have it. Suddenly, I began to find my ‘voice’ through capturing the world around me.”

In 1990, he graduated from James Madison University. Today, he is a member of a small club of African Americans who have served as official White House photographers.

In addition to Jackson, the group includes Eric Draper, chief White House photographer during the eight-year Presidency of George W. Bush and Sharon Farmer. Serving in the Clinton White House from 1993 until the end of the administration, Farmer was the first Black woman hired as a White House photographer and she eventually led the photography team. She was director of the White House Photography office from 1999 to 2001, the first African American and first woman to serve in the role. All three photographers worked for the Associated Press before being tapped as Presidential photographers.

During the Biden-Harris campaign, Jackson spoke to EyeEm about the experience of training his lens on Harris. “I’m very lucky to be helping the Biden campaign with Senator Harris. When it came to covering the first Jamaican-Americaln Indian-American female vice president nominee, it was a no-brainer,” he said. “She’s got her own style, agenda personality, and is becoming a part of history. For any photojournalist, capturing giving a political campaign justice means having to be there and shooting the critical moments shaping global history.”

Asked whether he would be interested in returning to the White House, Jackson told EyeEm: “For the right person, yes. When you are on a plane halfway around the world, missing your family and being sleep-deprived, it helps to believe in the person that you’re working for. There was never a day in which I didn’t stand for the mission of President Obama or First Lady Michelle Obama. They were sacrificing so much of their life and their time that the least I could do was buckle-up and get my job done.” CT

 

FIND MORE about Lawrence Jackson on his website, and see his photos on Instagram, and Biden for President on Flickr

 


Aug. 19, 2020: Sen. Kamala Harris with husband Doug Emhoff before she accepts the nomination for Vice President of the Democratic Party, Wilmington, Del. | Photo by Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President

 


Sept. 17, 2020: Sen. Kamala Harris at Sister to Sister event, Philadelphia, Pa. | Photo by Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President

 


Sept. 17, 2020: Sen. Kamala Harris during a community conversation in Philadelphia, Pa. | Photo by Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President


Oct. 21, 2020: Sen. Kamala Harris speaks at a Get Out the Vote event at Truist Field, Charlotte, N.C. | Photo by Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President

 


Oct. 19, 2020: Sen. Kamala Harris departs airport after rally at Central Florida Campgrounds, Orlando, Fla. | Photo by Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President

 


Sept. 4, 2020: Sen. Kamala Harris visits Howard University, her alma mater in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President

 


Oct. 19, 2020: Sen. Kamala Harris at a rally at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Fla. | Photo by Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President

 


March 7, 2012: President Barack Obama, accompanied by Secret Service, walks across the tarmac at North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte, N.C. | Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

 


Feb. 1, 2012: President Obama holding Arianna Holmes, 3, before taking a departure photo with members of her family in the Oval Office. | Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

 

BOOKSHELF
In 2019, Lawrence Jackson published “Yes We Did: Photos and Behind-the-Scenes Stories Celebrating Our First African American President,” a volume dedicated to images of President Barack Obama. “Obama: An Intimate Portrait” and “Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents” are fully illustrated volumes by Pete Souza, who served as chief photographer in the Obama White House. “Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer” is by Amanda Lucidon. Eric Draper published “Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush.” Before she launched her presidential campaign, Kamala Harris published a memoir, “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” the was recently released in paperback. She also wrote “Superheroes Are Everywhere,” a children’s book with illustrations by Mechal Renee RoeHer. Harris’s historic rise has also engendered children’s books by her niece Meena Harris (“Ambitious Girl”), and authors Nikki Grimes and Laura Freeman (“Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice”). There is a 2021 wall calendar dedicated to Harris and the Vice President-Elect has also inspired comics from Tidalwave Productions, including “Female Force: Kamala Harris” and “Political Power: Madam Vice President,” which will be published on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.

 

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