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|| News Item: Posted 2009-12-28

Decade Collection: Paul Morse
'I felt honored as this inauguration was one our country would forever remember…'

By Paul Morse

Photo by Paul Morse

Photo by Paul Morse

President and Mrs. Obama during the Presidential Inauguration parade on January 20, 2009.
I took this photo of President and Mrs. Obama during the Presidential Inauguration parade on January 20, 2009. This moment was quite significant for me as it was the third inauguration I had been a part of since moving to Washington, D.C. in 2001. At the time I had what I thought was my dream job - a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times. I was covering the biggest sporting events and news of the days and enjoyed every moment of it. However, when a friend called asking if I could help photograph the Bush Family during the inauguration in 2001, I knew it was a chance I couldn’t pass up.

My job at the White House was very rewarding. I immediately made great friends and worked for a family who truly appreciated my work and dedication. I developed a close bond with the President through cycling that is still strong today. While the job was very tiring, it allowed me opportunities I never would have imaged - meeting heads of state, traveling to such far off places as Mongolia, and most of all, witnessing first hand significant moments in our nation’s history, in particular, September 11, 2001.

In 2005 I photographed President Bush’s second inauguration. Much of the staff turned over during the second term but my relationship with the President continued to grow. I admired the President’s character and steadfast leadership, however, the exhaustion eventually caught up with me. In 2007 I left the White House to pursue a freelance career thinking he was the last President I would cover.

In 2009, the call from another good friend came in to photograph President Barack Obama’s inauguration. I felt honored, as this inauguration was one our country would forever remember - the beginning of an era that broke down so many barriers and represented so much change in our country’s history.

While the day was exceptionally cold, I’ve long since forgotten the chill, as the historical moments of this day will last forever through my pictures.

(Paul Morse is a freelance photographer based in Washington D.C. He is formerly a White House photographer in the George W. Bush administration. You can see his member page here:

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