Barack Obama was yesterday named as Time magazine’s Person of the Year, as a set of never-seen-before photographs emerged of the American president-elect posing in a fetching straw boater during his student days.
The black and white pictures show the dandily dressed Obama, aged around 19, smoking a cigarette whilst sitting on a wooden bench and leaning against a wall.
The future Democratic leader of the free world was spotted by aspiring photographer Lisa Jack in the canteen at Los Angeles’ Occidental College and happily agreed to model for her.
He was very charismatic even then,’ recalled Ms Jack, who stored the negatives in her basement for a quarter of a century and refused to release them before the election because she did not want them used for political purposes.
Ms Jack, who was 22 when she took the pictures, lost touch with Mr Obama shortly after the photo session. But she spotted him recently whilst touring Capitol Hill and yelled out his name.
‘He knew exactly who I was after all this time. I was amazed,’ she said.
Ms Jack, now a psychologist, eventually agreed to give the prints to Time, to coincide with its Person of the Year award.
‘These are historic photos and they should be shared,’ she said.