Portraits of the President as a Young Man

He squats in the corner, over a slab of grating, looking down his nose through squinted eyes and pointing his chin at the camera. Sassy. The college freshman wears a Panama hat and dangles a cigarette, while the lightswitch above him gives a diagonal zip to the composition. That’s “Barry” Obama as captured by his Occidental College classmate Lisa Jack in 1980. Tomorrow, Jack’s photos, along with a blow-up of her original contact sheet, go on view in “Barack Obama: The Freshman,” an exhibition at the M+B Gallery in West Hollywood. Prices will start at $1,000 to $4,500 for the photographic prints, each available in limited editions of 230.

“I’m the 49-year-old woman who wanted to be a photographer but didn’t follow through,” Jack told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m the Susan Boyle of the photography world.” Jack, who works as a psychology professor and therapist, kept her photos out of circulation until Obama was elected, allowing them to be published only in the pages of Time. Now, on the eve of the exhibition, she’s dreaming big. According to the LAT, Jack has invited Obama, who is happens to be visiting Los Angeles today, to check out the show. She’s also hoping that Shepard Fairey will “do his artfully iconic thing with her ‘Freshman’ images.”

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