Posts Tagged 'Pete Souza'

Watching the Situation in the Situation Room

Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.

The President, In Pictures

Photo by Pete Souza

So there’s a few people in England who have their knickers in a twist because Prime Minister David Cameron put a “vanity photographer” on the payroll. They say in these austere times it doesn’t make sense to pay someone to “take flattering pictures of him and other ministers.” While instituting this  job in the US’s current economic climate would no doubt be met with similarly strong objections, we’ve had an official White House photographer going back to 1960, when President Kennedy appointed Cecil W. Stoughton.

I think our country looks upon the job not as a “vanity” perk and more like an incredible opportunity to document history. Sure, there are plenty of feel-good photo ops, but then this photographer also has unrivaled access to some of the most important events in history. Who can forget the photo of a shell-shocked Jacqueline Kennedy looking on as Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office  in Air Force One after President Kennedy was killed? (By Cecil W. Stoughton of course.)

And, for better or worse, photos of the president can have a huge impact. Former President George Bush said last week he regretted allowing that infamous picture to be taken of him staring out of Air Force onto a devastated New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He called it a “huge mistake” because it reinforced the perception that he was  totally removed from the disaster. (The photo wasn’t taken by his official photographer but by Susan Walsh, Christopher Morris or Mannie Garcia, depending on who you talk to.)

National Geographic takes on the fascinating  topic in this month’s “The President’s Photographer,” which features the recollections of all nine who’ve held the job (only five of which are still living). Along with the show premiering November 24 on PBS, there is a companion book of both well- and little-known images of recent US presidencies.

CBS’s “Sunday Morning” also did this piece on Souza and the role that’s worth a view, if you can stomach the horrible reporter. (Other than that, it’s good.)

White House Photographer Pete Souza is Taking Your Questions

To submit  your question go here.

Spades With the President

Photo by Pete Souza/The White House

Nice gig, if you can get it….

On long Air Force One flights, [President Obama] retreats to the conference room and plays spades for hours, maintaining a trash-talking contest all the while, with the same three aides: Reggie Love, his personal assistant; Marvin Nicholson, his trip director; and Pete Souza, his White House photographer.

Source: New York Times

Bare-Chested Prez Bans Photos

Photo by Pete Souza

While on vacation in Panama City, Fla., over the weekend, President Obama barred photographers from shooting him while swimming to prevent the inevitable fuss over his bodacious body. (He learned his lesson while vacationing in Hawaii last December after there was much comment on his “war chest,” as the Daily Mail referred to it.) White House photographer Pete Souza got the shot above, but other reporters and photographers were led out of view while POTUS swam with his kids.

Photostreaming With Obama

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

I don’t want to just be a bandwagoneeer, but there are things about this presidential administration that have really impressed me. There is a hackneyed old phrase that comes to mind, but I’ll use it anyway: breath of fresh air. 

In an interesting – and unprecedented – move, the White House created a Flickr account and uploaded 299 photos this week. We see President Obama in situations a rare few have access to:  in the White House movie theater, waiting in the Blue Room before a press conference, on Air Force One, in his private study. The photos are, collectively and individually, quite awesome. 

This president doesn’t seem to have a problem with cameras, and amazingly, wants people to see what’s going on at the White House – he seems to be encouraging, dare I say it, openness. They’ve even enabled comments! Now that’s an interesting tack for a government official….

The man behind the camera is the White House’s official photographer, Pete Souza.

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