02 December 2009

"POTUS..." West Point, NY 1 Dec. 09

President Barack Obama enters Eisenhower Hall to deliver his national address at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2009. President Obama called for an additional 30,000 troops be sent to Afghanistan. Times Herald-Record/CHET GORDON

President Obama. There is something so spectacularly special about drawing the assignment to photograph a sitting President of the United States. (POTUS) This would be the fourth President I'd have the opportunity to photograph. For a lot of obvious reasons I was thrilled for the last week or so, when the announcement was made that he'd address the 4,000+ cadets and the nation at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Honored. Pumped. Much, much more than mere excitement.

*"This assignment was for my parents, who I knew were watching... For my family, friends and colleagues who I knew were quietly cheering for me too. But it was also for the ancestors who came before us..."

It was for every senior photographer and photo-editor who ever mentored me; giving of their time in
reminding me of all the little things you must excel at everyday to get to this point in one's career. Although I didn't make the trip in January to be in Washington, DC for the inauguration - even though I'd felt for the longest time that I should've been there, I held onto some strong feelings the last six months or so that I just might get lucky enough to photograph this new president. Ironically, after arriving 5 hours early to navigate through multiple security checks by "The Service", and their bomb sniffing dogs a few times, that when it was actually time to go to work on the press risers approximately 100' from the stage, I had no butterflies. This was a (serious) work night all around, and it lasted until nearly 3AM by the time I was done uploading a photo gallery to the paper's site. I remember going into "The Zone" about 10 minutes into the President's speech. No distractions, no equipment failures or slip-ups. This was definitely "A-Game" territory for every working photographer in the house this night.
Thank goodness I packed a small metal
step-stool, which guaranteed the rope-line images (left) I made from the back row of the risers.
Yea, little things.

Click this link to view a slideshow on the paper's site.

*(Check this one off the career 'bucket-list...')
Thanks for looking and your comments are as always, greatly appreciated. -cg.


  1. Love your commitment to a good story/image.


  2. Hey Chet,excellent work. I share your fulfillment in covering a president that i believe will go down in history as not only the first black president but more so a president that tried to do his best for the American people, like FDR.I too was disappointed in myself for not tiring harder to get to the inauguration.

    Jose Williams