At Work with the Official Presidential Photographer

As the United States gets ready to welcome a new president, photojournalist Pete Souza is reflecting over an eight year journey consisting of close to 2,000,000 photographs. With the unique job title of Chief Official White House Photographer, Souza had the privilege to follow President Barack Obama through his day to day life as Head of State:

Souza first began photographing Obama during his term as an Illinois senator. Since then, he’s captured every step of the presidency—from election madness and tense events in office to the mundane, quiet moments that are often overlooked.

presidential photojournalism

This isn’t the first time that Souza’s taken on a project of such proportions. In fact, Souza was the Official White House Photographer for the duration of Ronald Regan’s presidency in the 1980s. Even though he knew the commitment of following the Obamas would be long and difficult at times, he had no hesitation taking on the job. After eight years of having access at any time of day or night, Souza is much more than an observer; he and Obama share a close relationship, and Souza has learned to anticipate the president’s every moment in order to get the perfect shot.

presidential official photographer

Yet, when Obama transitions back to civilian life, Souza’s job has only begun. He’ll finally have the opportunity to pause and sort through his extensive and remarkable archive.

Obama waving to crowd

“Not only does he have an amazing eye, not only are his pictures evocative, accurate, creative, but he’s also become a great friend, someone I trust.” –Barack Obama

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