Esther Beaton


Obama, Obama…and press photography woes

I hadn’t planned to watch the arrival of the US President but when I saw the GG’s yellow outfit I was captivated. I was so impressed by the welcome given to President Obama by our two gracious first ladies. And it was so low-key, just like every thing Australian – so casual, so laid back. I was so proud of the Aussies, despite my American roots.
I watched the poor journos and photographers and felt so sorry for them. It reminded me of my days in Canberra and having to shoot under such stressful conditions. I used to be a press photographer for Time magazine (freelance only) and it was just horrible. You had to battle with all the other photographers in a tight space and they were all so big and muscly and aggressive. To get this shot of Paul Keating I found a high vantage point and the shot turned out better than everyone else’s.
I would also be stomach-wrenching worried about getting the shot. In the film days there was so much that could go wrong and you just didn’t get a second chance. Even today with digital where you’ve got the instant feedback monitor, you don’t dare take your eye away from the viewfinder in case you miss that split second when the shot of a lifetime happens. No thanks, press photography is no longer for me. I’m sticking to nature.
And welcome, Barack, to our sunny shores.

2 thoughts on “Obama, Obama…and press photography woes”

  1. They used their elbows; I would duck and weave.

    But seriously, there is a lesson here for all photographers: Think smarter, dare to back away from the action, and then look for a better vantage point. The "mob" gets into a mob mentality and this really kills the creative spirit. Look around; find something that others aren't doing.

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