In 1980, when Barack Obama was a freshman at Occidental College in Los Angeles, he was approached by an aspiring photographer named Lisa Jack, who asked him if he would be willing to pose for some black and white photographs that she could use in her portfolio. He complied. Of her first meeting (in a campus eatery) with Obama, Jack remembers only that "He was really cute. But what else does a 20-year-old girl remember?" Jack and Obama would see each other only a few more times while students.
But in 2005, while on a tour, she spotted Obama on Capitol Hill and yelled hello. "He knew exactly who I was after all this time," Jack says. "I was amazed." On a dare from a skeptical friend, Jack decided to track down her negatives from the shoot. Initially, before she dug the film out from her basement, Jack never thought her pictures would have much life beyond her own darkroom. When she found them, the images of Obama "blew me away," she says. "I had no idea I'd taken a whole roll of film."
For a while, Jack put the negatives in a safety-deposit box, so that they could not be used until after the election, when there would be no chance they could be used for a political purpose. Today, Jack says, she hopes the photos reveal a "spirit of fun and thoughtfulness."
:lisa jack, time