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Photo Field Trip

A Berkeley teen’s big break at the White House.


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Andrei Crandall

Middle schooler Andrei Crandall was standing just a few feet from the president of the United States. It was April 1, and Andrei was on the White House lawn in the space reserved for official photographers.

Courtesy of Andrei Crandall“I knew I could possibly be the luckiest 14-year-old in the whole United States at that moment,” he says.

Andrei had been invited to photograph Barack Obama on the day the president hosted the Boston Red Sox, 2013 World Series champs.And, though he knew it was probably the toughest assignment of his young career, Andrei wasn’t nervous. “I knew I wanted to get close-up shots of the president that captured his personality,” he says.

Andrei picked up his first camera at age four while he was on an airplane coming to the United States from Russia, after being adopted. By 12, he had been juried into the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild. He has also shadowed and taken photos of Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, and was the youngest intern at the California State Senate photographer’s office last summer.

Andrei was invited to the capital by President Obama’s personal photographer, Pete Souza, after Andrei contacted Souza seeking career advice. Since Andrei’s visit, one of his shots of President Obama has won a place in Berkeley’s Civic Center Art exhibition. And Andrei raised $1,000 for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland by selling some of his White House prints.

As for his future, there’s no doubt where Andrei aspires to be.

“If I could take Pete Souza’s job tomorrow, I would be there!” Andrei says.

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