At this point, Obama is so comfortable with photographer Callie Shell it’s like she isn’t even there.
This was photographed in a holding room at the Capitol right before the inauguration ceremony. Of course, Obama is just adjusting his coat and tie. Still, the circumstances open up the broader possibilities of what happens when one looks at one’s self in the mirror.
For someone like Obama, who always seems so put together, the picture invites the idea there is actually a process to it. Of course, after all the disaster Bush wrought and the degree to which he hoarded and abused power, what’s also here, by comparison, is the notion of a President who is able to look himself in the face.
View the rest of the Shell’s TIME’s photo gallery (“Behind the Scenes of Obama’s Big Day”) here.
(image: Callie Shell/Aurora for TIME. Washington. January 20, 2009)