Iconic Michelle Obama Moments from Amanda Lucidon’s Reach Higher


Amanda Lucidon is an award-winning documentarian, filmmaker, and photographer known for her work with former First Lady Michelle Obama. Lucidon’s newest book, Reach Higher, is a stunning photograph collection for young readers that captures and celebrates Mrs. Obama’s dedication to improving the lives of young people in the United States and beyond. In her warm, inspirational talks, Lucidon shares behind-the-scenes stories from her work at the White House, and explores the transformative power of the arts, the crucial role of visual imagery in politics, and the triumphs and challenges of documenting an iconic figure.

Lucidon was kind enough to share the stories behind some of her favorite images of the former First Lady with us. She can’t wait to share these and more iconic photos from her time at the White House with audiences of all ages!

1. “Look what I found!”

“Children always laugh when they see this picture. Especially when I ask them, ‘What do you think Mrs. Obama found in the compost bucket?’ There’s giggling and some squirming as they respond, ‘A worm!’ I like telling the story of the lucky moment when the wind lifted everyone’s hair as Mrs. Obama looked directly at the wiggly worm.”

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First Lady Michelle Obama finds a worm while talking with students about composting during their garden demonstrations at Philip’s Academy Charter School in Newark, N.J., April 7, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

2. Leaning In

“I always enjoy hearing the way the audience reacts to this image. It’s filled with so much love and emotion. I can tell by the response that the crowd feels it too. But there’s also a story I like to tell about how I almost missed this photo…twice!”

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in a videotaping for the 2015 World Expo in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, March 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

3. Surprise

“Photographing events with Turnaround Arts students was a highlight for me because they were so uplifting and inspiring. I really like sharing the story behind this image. Mrs. Obama decided to surprise students in the Map Room. As you can tell, each person had their own reaction to the moment. It’s exciting to share this image because it’s full of raw emotion and completely relatable.”

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden greet students from Orchard Gardens in Boston, Mass. after the students performed at a luncheon for National Governors Association (NGA) spouses, in the Map Room of the White House, Feb. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

4. Kids and Puppies

“Everyone knows Mrs. Obama adores kids and puppies! But kids and puppies can also be completely unpredictable! It’s fun sharing the humorous story about the taping of a segment for Puppy Bowl on the South Lawn of the White House. The directors were trying to keep the kid’s attention as they were focused on trying to keep the puppies from running away!”

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First Lady Michelle Obama participates in an Animal Planet Puppy Bowl filming on the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 28, 2013, to air during the Super Bowl. Harriet Tubman Elementary School students and puppies participate in the “Drink Up” filming. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

5. The Great Wall

“This is one of my favorite images that I took during my time at the White House. As a new mother, this image is especially poignant because it reminds me of the special bond between a parent and child. Mrs. Obama had such an important role as First Lady but being a mother was her most important priority. I like sharing this photo and telling the stories about my first international trip and the obstacles I had to overcome while working in China to document important and historic moments as a White House Photographer.”

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First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia visit the Great Wall of China in Mutianyu, China, March 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Reach Higher is now available in bookstores everywhere.

Contact us for more information on how Amanda Lucidon can transform your next event.