Profile: Sharon Camille Farmer (1951-)

Sharon Camille Farmer was the first African-American woman to be hired as a White House photographer and the first African American and first female to be Director of the White House Photography office.


Farmer was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Ohio State University in 1974 with a degree in photography. While a student she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, vice president of the student government, and served as editor for the school newspaper, Our Choking Times.


Farmer started her career in 1974 shooting album covers. Her freelance photography grew to photojournalism and she worked for Smithsonian Institution, The Washington Post and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In 1993, Sharon Farmer was hired to photograph for The White House covering President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Later, Farmer was promoted to Director of White House Photography and became the first African American and first woman to hold this position.

Farmer’s work has been included in multiple exhibits, including: “Songs of My People,” “Art against AIDS,” “Gospel in the Projects,” “Twenty Years on the Mall,” “Washington, DC-Beijing Exchange,” and “Our View of Struggle.”


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