Private Peek at a Family Making History; Above: A Tired-Looking Sasha Stares at the TV Right: Barack Puts His Feet Up and Relaxes Next to Michelle as the Results Roll in Left: He Listens Intently as John McCain Gives His Concession Speech on Wednesday Morning Above: A Handshake from Joe Biden Left: Michelle Shares a Tender Moment with Their Daughters. Above: Mr Obama Holds His Mother-in-Law Marian Robinson's Hand

Article excerpt

Byline: David Gardner

AS one man prepares to fulfil his destiny, the tension is overwhelming, the sense of expectation immense.

These fascinating behind-the-scenes pictures show the historic moment Barack Obama learned he had been elected as America's first black president.

Cloistered in a stark Chicago hotel room, and living up to his nickname 'No Drama Obama', he appears contemplative and often serious as he watches a giant TV screen showing John McCain delivering his concession speech.

With his feet up on the coffee table and clearly exhausted, Mr Obama is shown watching with his family as the results rolled in during the last hours of a 22-month campaign journey that was on the brink of triumphant conclusion.

Wringing his hands and his brow creased in a frown, some nerves are still visible to see on Mr Obama, 47, and his whole family.

There's little sign of jubilation - just a sober realisation of the challenge ahead.

Past presidents had their election night vigils charted in powerful photo essays in journalism heavyweights such as Life magazine or Time. …