“My favorite thing when I go home is breakfast with the kids and taking them to school,” Obama has said

By Claudia Harmata
September 24, 2019 02:00 PM
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Photographer Callie Shell GIVES the world an up-close-and-personal look into former President Barack Obama‘s life during his first campaign and beyond in her book, Hope, Never Fear: A Personal Portrait of the Obamas.

The volume compiles more than 100 photos taken by Shell throughout her time with the Obamas, which started while the family was still in Chicago and just starting on their path to Washington, D.C.

“I think it’s really important for people to see the journey it took for them to get to the White House — what they were like before they were rock stars, when they were sleeping on buses and there weren’t hundreds of staff people around and Secret Service,” Shell told CNN.

Credit: Hope, Never Fear: A Personal Portrait of the Obamas by Callie Shell, published by Chronicle Books.

In one of the photos in her book, President Obama — with his sleeves rolled up — is seen washing the dishes with his daughters, Malia and Sasha, in their Chicago home in 2006.

“My favorite thing when I go home is breakfast with the kids and taking them to school,” Obama previously told Shell, according to CNN.

In her book, he is quoted saying, “Gender stereotypes affect all of us, regardless of our gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. But I also have to admit that when you’re a father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society … You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.”

The Obamas at the White House in 2009
| Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty
The Obamas in 2013
| Credit: Afp/Getty

With each intimate photo that Shell unveils, she explains a new facet of Obama’s life — whether on the campaign trail, with his family or during his presidency.

Last year, Michelle Obama similarly opened up about her famous family’s story with the mega-selling memoir, Becoming.

“We are finding each other again,” Mrs. Obama told PEOPLE last year of her marriage. “We have dinners alone and chunks of time where it’s just us — what we were when we started this thing: no kids, no publicity, no nothing. Just us and our dreams.”

There had been rough patches, too, but Mrs. Obama didn’t shy away from discussing those.

“Because we’re role models, it’s important for us to be honest and say, ‘If you’re in a marriage and there are times you want to leave, that’s normal — because I felt that way,’ ” she said.

“There were definitely times when I wished things were different,” she added, “but I don’t think I ever thought, ‘I’m just checking out of this.’ “

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Shell highlights their relationship in her photos as well, whether its a tender moment the Obamas shared in the brief periods they could spend together while he campaigned for the presidency, or a goofier side of the couple joking with one another ahead of an event appearance.

Through it all, Shell said a lesson she learned by following Obama’s career is that the job has a way of bringing out one’s true colors.

“I really do believe that the office reveals who you are,” she told CNN. “I don’t think it changes you.”