The man who photographs Presidents

Bob McNeely photographed Bill and Hillary Clinton for six years, capturing 25,000 rolls of history - the Clinton Years in detail.

More recently, Kodak asked McNeely to accompany Barack Obama during the days leading up to his inauguration last month. We've had the chance to talk to him about his work during this time and his experience as a political photographer.

"Working in the White House at any time is a thrill, but I have had the pleasure of photographing every US President since Richard Nixon at the White House," McNeely told us.

McNeely first became interested in photography while serving with the US Army in South East Asia. After that, he began to photograph full time, later becoming interested in political imagery. He became a staff photographer on the McGovern for President campaign, covering the White House from 1977 and then taking on other work.

How this inauguration compared

So how did this inauguration compare with McNeely's other work? "The Obama Inauguration was one of the most moving, emotional events I ever photographed," added McNeely. "Other than being very cold and uncomfortable I enjoyed shooting it as much as any project I have done."

We also asked McNeely how he likes to work, and what equipment he uses. "I like to work as a 'fly on the wall' making candid photos with a Leica and B&W film," he says.

"I carry three or four Leica's when doing this work. A M-6 with a 28, M-6 with a 50mm, M-5 with a 21mm, and a M-5 with a 75mm f1.4. I like the M-5's for there wonderful meters and the fact that they are higher on the top for the 21mm finder. By being higher the finder clears the lens hood so you can see the full frame."

McNeely has have been a partner with Kodak since the beginning of his career, "starting with Tri-X and now with T-Max B&W film and Kodak chemistry."

And what advice would he give to aspiring photographers? "The best advice is to work as much as possible. If you are between assignments or are just starting out you need to being making pictures and working on your sense of individual vision."

And if he 'knew then' what he 'knows now', what would he do differently? "Take more pictures and work harder. And maybe open up a shop."


Now read 10 easy ways to improve your photography skills

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Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.