19 Apr 2012

Obama snap by C4 News cameraman goes viral

Award-winning cameraman Dai Baker’s sneaky snap of Obama at the Whitehouse goes viral, generating publicity for online charity campaign ‘For Luca’.

Dai Baker met with Barack Obama to collect the White House news photographers’ association award and chanced a quick snap [pictured left] while a group photo was taken.

Having won the award before, he was expecting to have an individual photo with the president, and was going to ask Mr Obama if would pose for a photo for the For Luca campaign, which is raising money for a three-year-old who lost both his legs to meningococcal septicaemia.

When Dai realised that no individual photo was planned, he chanced his luck and took a photo of the president with his phone. However a security man put his hand on his shoulder and told him to put the phone away. However he was not – as some more excitable press outlets have claimed – wrestled to the ground.

Dai then posted the photo on Twitter, along with others in and around the Oval Office [pictured below].

C4 News cameraman's Obama snap goes viral

The only interview Dai did at the time was with his local paper – the South Wales Argus – last Thursday, but the story of President Obama unwittingly taking part in the charity campaign, reached dozens of news outlets around the world.

“It’s quite surreal appearing in the Huffington Post, the Mumbai Mirror, and some foreign newspapers I can’t even read,” said Dai.

While the For Luca campaign has become an internet sensation, Dai, from Newport, Wales, has a personal connection to Luca Williams, as his brother’s son is in the same nursery class.

Luca’s parents are trying to raise £1.5m for prosthetic legs and have started an online photo campaign with supporters, including celebrities such as Pixie Lott and F1 racing driver Mark Webber, holding up ‘For Luca’ messages written on their hands.

C4 News cameraman's Obama snap goes viral

Dai had been asked to hand in his phone as he arrived.

Taking the chance of being thrown out of a White House event where you are being honoured for your work, is a risk that few people would take.

But perhaps he has earned the right to be more insouciant than most: not only is this the sixth year in a row that he has been a winner at the White House press awards, but in 2012 Dai won the top award for films in an unprecedented four categories:

best day feature Arizona – how did the tragedy happen? best magazine feature Nebraska’s corn-fuelled ‘gold rush‘, best news feature the homeless in the shadow of Capitol Hill and best special report/series Germany under pressure over Euro Crisis,

But that wasn’t all: he also won third prize in the network category for a film about the American Economy and a third place for his editing skills in two other categories.

This year’s meeting was his third with Barack Obama [2011 meeting is pictured above], he also got to be photographed at the White House meeting George W Bush three times.