Posts Tagged 'White House'

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.

White House Bans Reporter for Camera Phone Use

In a move that seems more in line with the previous administration, White House officials have banned a San Francisco Chronicle reporter from covering the president in the Bay Area. Reporter Carla Marinucci used her camera phone to capture protesters at a fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel, which violated rules specifically for “pen and pad” reporters. So she’s no longer part of the press pool, despite earlier claims that this White House would be the most transparent in history,

In the video (seen here),  you can hear the protesters singing “We paid our dues, where’s our change?” 

“We’ve come full circle here,” Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Foundation’s Project for Excellence in Journalism told me today. “A newspaper reporter is being punished because she took pictures with a moving camera. We live in a world where there are no longer distinctions. The White House is trying to live by 20th century distinctions.”

To be fair, Marinucci’s rule breaking didn’t just affect the president’s image, but it could be seen as a slight to her fellow reporters too. When you’re part of a pool there are guidelines about the information collected, and it’s not really fair if you’re breaking them so you can get the scoop. But, the administration’s harsh actions just make them look bad — and thin-skinned.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle


Nixon & His Cronies, Super 8 Style

Photo: Our Nixon

Everyone knows Richard Nixon was a prodigious recorder. It got him into some hot water during the Watergate scandal, and it turns out the FBI confiscated a lot more than just nefarious stuff that ultimately lead to his downfall. The National Archives has been holding onto more than 204 rolls of Super 8 home movies filmed over three years by some of Nixon’s most trusted advisors: Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, Chief Domestic Advisor John Ehrlichman, Special Assistant to the President Dwight Chapin and Deputy Assistant Larry Higby.

It’s over 3,700 hours of never-before-seen material — official White House events, visiting dignitaries, campaign stops, the historic trip to China, and even innocuous things like birds and beach time with Henry Kissinger.

The home movies record every aspect of their experience of the Nixon White House, from the prosaic to the profound.  These four men carefully documented their time with Nixon because they believed that Nixon would transform America. And in a way, they were right.

Filmmakers Brian L. Frye and Penny Lane have acquired that footage from the National Archives, had the first-ever digital copies made, and are  now making a documentary film called “Our Nixon.” And naturally they’re funding the project through Kickstarter; they needed $10,000 to get if off the ground and they’ve already raised it (well before the May 6th goal, too).

There probably won’t be any dancing on tabletops, but maybe it’ll unearth the human side to that very cold, calculating White House administration. I’m excited to see how it turns out.

For more info on “Our Nixon,” check out the Kickstarter page, or the film’s website.

White House Photog Gets Harassed – at White House

Now this one takes the cake. A credentialed — and major, we might add — photographer is harassed by Secret Service while taking photos outside the White House. Mannie Garcia, best known for his Obama photo that turned into the ubiquitous “Hope” poster and the lawsuit that followed, was taking photos of a World Aids Day rally on Pennsylvania Avenue, when an officer approached him and demanded he delete the photo.

“He just charged me,” Garcia told PDN Pulse. “He came right at me and grabbed my camera. He had his hand on his weapon and said give me that photo and I said no.”

Garcia walked away without further incident, and it was all quickly sorted out. The officer was apparently young and green, and Garcia said there has been a tense “mood in the air” lately.

Even so, maybe the Secret Service should reevaluate whether this officer is right for this post in front of one of the most photographed sites in the world.

Source: PDN Pulse

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.

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.

US Park Police Admits ‘Rookie’ Error

The US Park Police stationed outside the White House are in hot water after they blocked reporters (see YouTube video) and closed Lafayette Park amidst a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” gay rights protest on Tuesday.

A Park Police spokesman put the blame squarely on his department, not the White House or Administration, and told Politico it was  a “rookie, amateur error” and “embarrassing.”

I can tell you from personal experience that the police outside the White House seem to commonly make rookie errors, as I was walking by there a few weeks ago and hundreds of tourists and pedestrians were moved back from the White House gates for over 30 minutes, supposedly due to the presidential dog being let outside (and he was not in any way visible from the street). Just imagine — these whole classes of kids traveled from the heartland to see the most famous house in America, and they’re forced instead to just look at some policeman (above). 

If that was indeed the reason to disrupt almost the entire block of Pennsylvania Avenue, I would say there is some ridiculous overreaction going on there.

Article from Politico

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.

We Live In Confusing Times

Of the things we learned on our cross-country road trip, and there were many, one was that one can freely and openly photograph the White House — arguably one of the most at-risk targets in the world — but the same can’t be said of office buildings in downtown Los Angeles.

Sikhs with a Camera at the White House. They Must be terrorists

To see more of discarted’s photos from this day, go here.

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