Photographer Callie Shell first met the Obamas when Barack was a senator, and followed their progress for the next four years. In her new book, she recalls the excitement of his rise to office.
When Callie Shell met Barack Obama in 2004, he was not yet "Barack Obama". He had served three terms as a state senator in Illinois (one of 59 Illinois senators, albeit an unusually charismatic one) and had been asked to introduce Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry at a rally in Chicago. Shell was there to photograph the wooden but worthy Kerry for Time magazine, but she couldn't stop snapping this other guy. He was funny, articulate and approachable. She told her editor, "I think he's going to run for President."
By the time Obama announced his historic presidential bid in 2007, Shell had already spent a year photographing him in his new role as US Senator. On the campaign trail, they hit five or six rallies a day. When Obama stood in the rain to make a speech, she got wet too.
Shell, 58, says they bonded over being unusually tall people, with large ears, young children and spouses they missed desperately. "I didn't know anything about [Michelle] except he always said how great she was," she remembers. "I thought, 'no one can be that great' but she really was."
Shell's new book Hope, Never Fear: A Personal Portrait of the Obamas, documents the couple's rise to prominence, from 2004 to 2008, when she says there was a palpable sense of possibility and optimism at work in America.
"I want people to remember the time before he was president. It was a very hopeful, very important time. In order for our country to go forward, you have to remember why that campaign was so important, why it made a difference - because it was accepting."
Although Shell says she didn't intend to publish an Obama love-fest, or draw comparisons to Donald Trump, the book does underline how unique the Obamas were, how dedicated and focused and real. Campaign Trump gives bystanders the baronial wave on his way to the podium, Campaign Obama clasps hands and stops a moment to chat. Trump holds babies aloft as if they are disappointing trophies, Obama looks them in the eyes.
"Campaigns in the United States are fabulous events, they really are," says Shell. "In our country, if you want to get votes, you get out there, you meet people, you put your hand out. And people come and they scream and they yell and they cry. It's awesome, it's an amazing process."
Having known Obama for 15 years now, Shell says the man people fell "madly in love with" back then is the same thoughtful, measured and elegant man who campaigns on behalf of other Democratic candidates today.
"I don't think he changed, his core didn't change. What happened was the office brought out and showed the qualities he had … He's very good at listening, he cares a lot about the people around him, he does not like people to bulls*** him - he wants you to be honest about what's going on and what you think.
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"He was always very easy to photograph, he never seemed to care about being photographed. He was able to keep his sense of humour and was able to make people comfortable."
When she took the shot of Obama's shoes, as he sat at his desk taking press interviews in Providence, in 2008, "he said he had already had them resoled once since he entered the race. They were his lucky shoes".
She recalls how kind Obama was to her son Hunter, now 17, who met him at age 5 and again at about 13, when the significance of meeting the President at the White House made him jittery.
"[Obama] was fabulous. They talked about girls, they talked about how girls throw you under the bus. Hunter said something about how girls kick you to the kerb but it's not even that, it's the drama, and it was so cute because Obama said, 'Oh my gosh, I so understand drama, there's so much drama round here.'"
After photographing the Obamas throughout the presidential campaign and for the first 100 days in office, Shell was offered the position of chief White House photographer. She had been the official photographer for Vice-President Al Gore from 1993 to 2001, so she knew just how gruelling it was, working from 6am till midnight or later, always lugging 15kg of photography equipment.
"Al Gore is a hard workaholic. His favourite thing would be to get on a plane, fly to Tokyo, do a meeting on climate change, meet 13 heads of state - don't need to stay in a hotel, that's a waste - get back on the plane, fly back to the US and do an Earth Day speech.
"I would every now and then get to have dinner with my husband and I would sometimes fall asleep in the food. Your body hurts, the White House is all marble. It is amazing, the history, the people you meet. I did Middle East summits. I shot Arafat, Rabin, Mandela. I went to 80 countries. The only thing I didn't have was family."
When Shell turned down the job with the Obamas, it was Michelle she didn't want to disappoint. They had developed a trust that was important to her.
"The day I had to tell her she was like, 'What?' I said, 'I can't be away from Hunter, I can't handle it,' and she was like, 'Of course you can't.' She immediately understood. But I felt horrible. You are saying no to the President and First Lady of our country."
Pete Souza, who had been chief photographer for President Ronald Reagan, took the job, and doesn't appear to have stopped doing it. Two-and-a-half years after the Obamas left the White House, Souza is still posting gorgeous First Couple photos on Instagram, and gleefully trolling Trump on Twitter.
"Pete's hilarious," says Shell, who has no career regrets. The last image in the book is Obama walking through the colonnade of the West Wing, 10 days into his stint as the most powerful man on Earth. He looks sombre, as if he has just realised how hard his job will be.
Shell says Obama is a contained character, not someone who dispenses a lot of high-fives unless he is at a basketball game: "He is very level." She is particularly proud of a photo she took of him riding an elevator with his team in June 2008, the night he had beaten Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, scoring enough votes to take the nomination.
"He crossed his arms and smiled a little bit and that was one of those ones where I didn't know if I had it, I just had to send a take to my editor. And they called and said, you nailed it.
When we got off the elevator there was another photographer next to me and he said, well that was a bust, and I was like no, that is excitement for [Obama]."
Easier to read were times of stress and gravity. The day Obama cut ties with Trinity United Church of Christ after 20 years of membership was clearly tough. The Chicago church was where the Obamas got married, and where their daughters were baptised, but controversial statements made by the pastor, the Rev Jeremiah Wright, caused the candidate political harm.
"It was a very hard, emotional day for him and I was not taking pictures, just hanging out in the holding room with him," says Shell. "At times in the campaign I was the [light] relief, I would talk about Hunter and he would talk about Sasha and Malia."
Obama went for a walk and stopped to chat with a father and children over their fence. Shell captured their shared joy, two dads having a laugh. "Looking back at it I could see the relief of talking to someone who had nothing to do with the campaign, the press, the church."
The book's cover image is one of her favourites, a moment on the campaign bus when the Obamas were reunited after spending the week campaigning separately. "I knew how much it meant to both of them being there. He looks happy, he looks relieved."
Later Michelle fell asleep on his shoulder, and Shell captured that too, a sweet photo that one of British PM David Cameron's staffers wanted to recreate, thinking she had orchestrated it. Shell told Cameron's team she would never set up a shot as the magic lies in capturing the unscripted moment - even if she has to stand in one spot for five hours to get it. "I would never do something that ridiculous."
She covered the last presidential election for CNN, following both Hillary Clinton and Trump, but has not returned to the White House since the Obamas left. She says she wants to finish a White House photography project she started 20 years ago, and that Trump would be a good President to finish with because he loves the place so much. But that's as political as she intends to get at this stage in her career.
"I don't want to go back into being in the Washington press corps, it's really hard and he makes it harder as a woman," she explains. "Most of the women writers and photographers I know who cover rallies and events with Trump say its dehumanising, it's really horrible. There were women at the end of the Trump campaign who had been grabbed, they had been pushed, all kinds of stuff had happened to them. I just don't need that."
Shell is currently assisting her husband, National Geographic photographer Vincent Musi, with his dog book, which means she is officially a dog wrangler. Then she hopes to photograph African American churches in the South and the people who bring them to life, but she is in no rush, still enjoying the last tasks associated with Hope, Never Fear.
She just sent a copy to Michelle Obama's chief of staff Melissa Winter, who cried. She is hoping the Obamas also like it, but is more concerned with how the average reader will find it, especially young people like her son, who believe the world is close to unfixable at this point. She made the Obamas a personalised book as a gift when they got to the White House, which was a collection of the photos she took on the campaign trail edited by her husband.
"They loved it. They both told me how much it meant to them … This book is not really for them."
Hope, Never Fear (Upstart Press, $35) by Callie Shell is out now. All images Image copyright © Callie Shell, from Hope, Never Fear.