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News & Insight

Pete Souza & President Obama On Photographing A Presidency + Pete’s Gear

By Kishore Sawh on January 16th 2017

This is it, the last ten meters of the home stretch for the Obama administration, which will bring to conclusion a historic presidency, regardless of what side of the fence you’re on. In doing so it will also bring an end to an administration that hasn’t always been the most transparent with the visual press, and been subject to scrutiny when it comes to journalistic photography within the hallowed walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

It has been accused of censoring the images to a high degree and staging shots released images, and yet in that time they’ve also torn up the 40 year old ban on photography in the White House, and the volume of imagery that has cascaded out of the WH doors has been more than we’ve ever seen before, much of it thanks to Pete Souza, Chief White House Photographer. But as Obama’s time concludes it’s fair to say so will Souza’s, even though he has previously been the White House Photographer during the Reagan era. CBS has caught up with Souza to recall some of the strongest, best, and perhaps most telling imagery of his tenure, and we also get a few words from President Obama on Pete, and the relationship between the President and his Chief Photographer. IF you pay attention it’s good to hear how much value they put on a good sense of propriety, accuracy, and the importance of intuition.


This bares some particular level of emotion, considering the favorability with which the Obama administration departs, and given the incoming admin’s contentious and somewhat venomous relationship with the press, it may be some time before we see views of the White House and a relationship like this. If you’re interested to see what gear the Pete has used throughout his time with the Obama admin, here’s what we’ve found:

You can find more about Pete Souza on his site, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s another good look at Souza and his time in the White House from the BBC:

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Patrick Oconnor

    Classy comments guys!

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  2. adam sanford

    Pete’s a fine photographer, and I’ve enjoyed his work over the years.

    Trump’s go-to guy, as I understand, was a Scot named Harry Benson. There’s a good bit with a video on him here:

    But Benson’s clearly quite old and would not be the day to day go-to photog for him, so I’m curious to see who he’ll pick. I want to make a Trump joke here (e.g. Google “Putin’s personal photographer” if you have a moment), but Trump seems to have employed proper photography pros in the past.

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  3. Damien Parish

    He is going to need an orange neutralizing filter for the next president haha…. But seriously, he will.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      haha. No doubt if Trump keeps him on and he accepts, he will. Highly doubt either.

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    • Ralph Hightower

      I will miss Pete’s photos. Watching the video interviews and the comments of his photos, he takes his work very seriously and knows when it’s not an appropriate time.
      This past weekend, I started the purge on my social media accounts to unfollow the new president. Fortunately, I didn’t use Twitter or Facebook to follow Obama or the office. I didn’t want any 2 AM Tweets from Trump ranting about Saturday Night Live. I did unfollow the White House on my Flickr account; so, the purge was simple.

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