Posts tagged USA
National Geographic: The Obama White House Through The Lens
Pete Souza is never far behind President Obama. In fact, sometimes he’s ahead of him. As the President’s chief White House photographer, Souza is the President’s shadow. Now, National Geographic will follow Souza inside the Obama White House — aboard Air Force One, backstage at the State of the Union, and into the heart of the West Wing. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday grit of the American presidency and a chance to see what it’s like to cover the most powerful man in the world, for posterity. Pete Souza is the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama; he is also the Director of the White House photo office.
Pete Souza was born in 1954. He is an American photojournalist and the current Chief Official White House Photographer for President Barack Obama and Director of the White House Photography Office. Prior to this he remained Official White House Photographer, during President Reagan, 1983-1989 and photographer with Chicago Tribune (Washington Bureau), 1998-2007, during this period he also followed the rise of Senator Obama to the Presidency. He was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts and raised in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, from a family of Portuguese ancestry. Souza graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in public communication from Boston University and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Kansas State University.
Souza started his career in the 1970s in Kansas at the Chanute Tribune and the Hutchinson News. In early 80s, he was a photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times. He served as an official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan during his second term, from June 1983 until Reagan left the White House in 1989. Years later, in June 2004, he was the official photographer during the funeral services of Ronald Reagan. Thereafter, he continued to be based in Washington D.C., and worked for ten years as a photographer for the Chicago Tribune, Washington Bureau (1998-2007). It is during this period that in 2004, Jeff Zeleny, now a political writer for the New York Times, asked him to take photographs for a project documenting Barack Obama’s first year as US senator.
Current official portrait of Barack Obama by Souza, January 2009. Souza covered Obama’s arrival to the Senate in 2005 and met him for the first time on Obama’s first day in the Senate when he was sworn in as a Democrat from Illinois in January 2005. He documented Obama’s first year in the Senate, following him in many foreign trips including Kenya, South Africa, and Russia. In the process he not only became close to Senator Obama, he ended up following his rise to Presidency. In July 2008, Souza published a bestseller photos book The Rise of Barack Obama, in which photographs between 2005 and 2008 were compiled. In May 2009 Souza began using Flickr as an official conduit for releasing White House photos. The photos were initially posted with a Creative Commons Attribution license which required that the original photographers be credited. Flickr later created a new license which identified them as “United States Government Work” which does not carry any copyright restrictions.The photos however are posted with the following disclaimer, “This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.”
Souza has also worked as a freelancer for National Geographic and Life magazines. After 9/11, he was among the first journalists to cover the war in Afghanistan and the fall of He was an assistant professor of photojournalism at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication and later he was asked on January 4, 2009 to become the official White House photographer for the second time in his career, for the new President-elect Obama. Shortly on January 14, the new presidential portrait released, and it is the first time that an official presidential portrait was taken with a digital camera. A week later he was present at the inauguration and following day he was only photographer present for Obama’s second swearing-in and also on Obama’s first workday in the Oval Office. In 2010, a National Geographic special was produced about presidential photographers, titled, The President’s Photographer where Pete Souza was the main subject. The special covered Pete’s work while also featuring the previous White House photographers, the film premiered on November 2010 (PBS). Souza’s 2011 photograph of Obama in the Situation Room during the raid on Osama bin Laden has become one of the most viewed images on Flickr.Today as White House photographer, Souza travels alongside President Obama to visually document each meeting, trip and encounter for historical record, along with and his staff produce up to 20,000 pictures a week. In November of 2011, Souza was included on The New Republic’s list of Washington’s most powerful, least famous people.
Pete Souza Official Website: http://www.petesouza.com/
Pete Souza Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/petesouza
Official White House Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/
Pete Souza’s Gear Box
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II
- 70-200mm f/2.8L IS
- 50mm f/1/2
- 28mm f/1.8
- 35mm f/1.4L
- 135mm f/2 L