A Day in the Life: Bloomberg Photographer Andrew Harrer
From luxury to politics to technology, Bloomberg is known for capturing compelling images of the day’s top stories. For Bloomberg photographer Andrew Harrer, that means working in one of the most high profile and exclusive places in America — the White House.
In Depth recently spent a day with Andrew as he worked in the White House photographer pool, trailing President Obama and shooting a concert by Katy Perry.
Scroll down to see photos from Andrew’s day.
8 a.m.: Arrive at the Bloomberg office in Washington, D.C., and review the White House “Daily Guidance” report, double checking pool call time and the day’s events. I usually bring extra camera gear with me – probably more than I need – because you never know what you’ll need. For example, President Obama could make an unannounced speech and I’d need a remote camera set up to get a unique angle.
8:30 a.m.: Before I head to the White House, I spend some time planning photo coverage for next week and checking on credentials for next week’s three-day US-Africa Leaders Summit. I also alert the New York photo desk the rundown of the day’s events at the White House so they know what to expect from me.
9:15 a.m.: Double check that I have all the camera gear needed for the day and walk over to the White House with my backpack and rolling camera bag.
9:30 a.m.: Arrive on location, show my pass and talk to the guards on duty as I walk through. They usually ask me about what kind of camera to buy or which lens should be their next purchase.
9:45 a.m.: Unload all my camera gear and laptop onto my pool seat in the “Still Country” area of the press area. Talk to the other photographers from agencies that staff the White House pool every day.
11:21 a.m.: First pool event: President Obama meets with members of Congress on foreign policy. Ushered in by two press handlers into the Cabinet Room. Managed to shoot 53 frames in the 1 minute and 3 seconds we had in the room.
11:30 a.m.: Quickly edit and caption the photos from the Cabinet Room. Not much to choose from since Obama’s speech was so quick and we had limited time in the room. Manage to get seven photos from the shoot, which I send on to the Bloomberg photo desk.
12 noon: Lunch break. It’s a working lunch for me, as I’m continuing to plan for the US-Africa Leaders Summit next week.
1:40 p.m.: Second pool event: President Obama delivers remarks and signs an Executive Order entitled “Fair Pay and Safe Workplace.” After a delay Obama arrives and begins to speak. Surrounded by Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, employers, workers and fair pay advocates, Obama signs the executive order. Again, quickly edit, caption and file the photos to the New York photo desk.
3 p.m.: Pool gathers at the “Palm Room” doors for the third event of the day, which is President Obama traveling to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to introduce newly sworn-in HUD Secretary Julian Castro. The motorcade consisting of our two pool vans, SUVs, an ambulance, police cars and President Obama’s limo “The Beast” weave as fast as possible through the streets of D.C. When we arrive, the pool photographers jump out of the vans and get in place on the back risers. Unfortunately, our spot in the back of the room is too far to capture any good photos. Photographers have to scramble to find chairs so we can see over the television cameras in the center of the room. Screaming and cheering HUD employees greet President Obama and Castro. Eventually the photographers are allowed to shoot photos from the side of the stage, making for better photos and photos that we can use for stories of Obama down the line.
4 p.m.: Motorcade makes its way back to the White House. Uneventful.
4:10 p.m.: Dinner lid is called until 6:40 p.m., meaning if you are part of the pool you are free to leave with no expected events during this time. I stay at the White House and eat a Kind bar.
5:30 p.m.: Wait for the press handler so the photographers can pre-set ladders for the evening event: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are hosting a Special Olympics event in the East Room.
7 p.m.: Pool gathers for the 7:25 Special Olympics event. We walk up the stairs through the North Portico of the White House. The U.S. Marine Band is playing for guests as we rush past to get to our pre-set spots. The East Room is dimly lit and set up with candles and flowers. Guests enter after a cocktail reception. The room hushes as the last guest enters and all eyes are on singer Katy Perry. President Obama and Michelle enter the room greeting the guests. After a speech by President Obama, during which he introduces several Special Olympians, he sits down at a table with America Online Co-Founder Steve Case and former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
8:09 p.m.: Pool is ushered out of the East Room, and I again rush to the press area to quickly edit, caption and send photos.
9:00 p.m.: Final event of the night. We are all assuming Katy Perry will be tonight’s entertainment for the concert commemorating the Special Olympics. After a long wait, and an Instagram post later, guests enter the State Dining Room. Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, introduces the seven Special Olympians on stage and thanks President Obama for “bringing change to America.” As President Obama and Michelle settle into the front row, Katy Perry enters in a blue sequined dress. Perry performs “Roar” for the crowd.
10:15 p.m.: Pool is led out of the room as the concert continues.
10:45 p.m.: While editing, someone walks through the press rooms informing the stragglers that we must leave immediately. Hastily pack up all my camera gear and laptop. No time to get through the entire take of concert photos.
11 p.m.: Catch a taxi for a quick ride to my apartment.
11:30 p.m.: Eat dinner at home while I finish editing and captioning photos from the Katy Perry performance. Send out all of the photos from the concert, 11 in all, and I’m finished for the day.