2020 US Elections:
the pictures of a tumultuous

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The story

Biden and his family

AFP's picture cover of the New York Times
(Monday, November 9, 2020)

After campaigning for months against Donald Trump despite the COVID-19 pandemic and enduring long days of vote counting, Joe Biden was finally announced as the 46th President-elect of the United States. That evening he gave a speech to a handful of supporters gathered at a Wilmington, Delaware parking lot next to his campaign HQ. The next morning he went to the cemetery to visit his son Beau’s grave. On each occasion AFP photographers were there to document history in the making.

The fact


AFP photographers followed Joe Biden constantly from the Democratic primary onwards, during which the candidate suffered several defeats, despite the trust placed in him by his camp in the race for the White House. After Biden was chosen as candidate, a highly unusual campaign ensued as he decided to campaign remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19. AFP's photographers therefore got few chances to follow the candidate in the field - but they never gave up, looking for opportunities to track him wherever they could, allowing them to get those key shots of the President-Elect when he was confirmed as the winner.

Behind the scenes of the election seen by Éric Baradat, AFP Photo Chief for the North America region


Éric Baradat, AFP Photo Chief for the North America region
Angela Weiss, Staff photographer


Angela Weiss,
Staff Photographer

Angela Weiss, AFP Photographer based in New York, was among the many photographers waiting at the Wilmington parking lot for days for the election results. She was convinced she wasn’t in the best spot to capture the historic moment.

Her colleague Jim Watson, one of AFP’s top White House photographers, was in the motorcade, and was much better placed to get an iconic photo. However, that night she was the one who got the picture that everyone would see around the world. And again, the next morning, her picture in the cemetery would make it onto the front page of the New York Times.


What happened

newspaper about Biden

Behind the scenes


Political photography in the US is a highly competitive and regulated world. Access is rare and media outlets fight every day to cover the President’s movements. Since the early 1990s, AFP Photo has been a full-time member of the "travelling pool" with permanent access to Air Force One flights, the presidential motorcade and all open press activities in the White House. This very privileged access is the Holy Grail for many outlets around the world.

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