Barack Obama, 2007 © Dawoud Bey, Courtesy of Stephen Daiter Gallery
This is a response by Divya Rao Heffley to July 2014

Every time the President appears in public, his appearance is dissected. From the color of his necktie to the shape of his shoes, everything is fair game. Hair, makeup, lighting, stage set, props: Hollywood ain’t got nothing on Washington. How much time, then, went into the composition of this photograph? How many stills were shot? How was this one chosen? Who chose it, for that matter, and how long was the decision deliberated? I have a feeling that the council that chose this particular photograph to stand for the President and all of his time in office was no less tense than a council of war. Against the backdrop of a presidency that has often to great dismay strictly controlled photographers’ access to the man behind the office, the backstory of this photograph's creation and selection must be quite a story. One that I would love to read.