TAKE A PEEK INTO OBAMA’S ADMINISTRATION FROM THE LENS OF PHOTOJOURNALIST PETER SOUZA
By Angelique Arintok, Staff Writer
Pete Souza is an American photojournalist best known for his work as the former chief official White House photographer of the Obama administration. Souza captured former President Barack Obama’s most crucial times as president of the United States. From documenting moments in the situation room, to the Oval Office, and engagements on international soil, Souza revealed himself to be one of Obama’s closest confidants during his time in office.
On Tuesday, Nov. 21, Souza made an appearance at the Tyson’s Corner Barnes & Noble to celebrate the publication of his two new portrait books: “Dream Big Dreams,” and “Obama: An Intimate Portrait.” Open to the public and free of charge, Souza’s book signing was a tremendous success.
Barnes & Noble was packed with avid fans of the photographer from the entryway to the back section of the store. Most guests at the book signing desired for a signature on Souza’s longer-length feature “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,”—a quickly sold-out item at the McLean Barnes & Noble location.
Captured with an enormous smile, Obama serves as the face of the book and additionally composed the foreword saying that “[he has] probably spent more time with Pete Souza than with anybody other than [his] family.” Both of Souza’s recent books are compilations of his photographs and include captions describing the respective documented moment. Side by side for eight years during Obama’s administration, the two teamed up in recording history from the most basic day-to-day meetings to interactions on the Air Force One, the Governors Ball, and more.
According to the “Dream Big Dreams” book jacket, this version of the publication is “created especially for young readers and not only provides a beautiful portrait of a President but shows the true spirit of the man.” The cover of the children’s version beautifully depicts a heartwarming interaction, as Obama is caught snapping a selfie with two younger fans named Jacob and James Haynes. Although marketed towards a younger demographic, the photos inside remain powerful storytellers of Obama’s time in office.
A key photo Souza is notable for highlights a five-year old boy, Jacob Philadelphia. The child asked for a simple favor, asking the President if he could feel his hair comparing it to his own. Entitled “Hair Like Mine,” Souza perfectly caught the moment in 2009, implicitly signifying Obama’s administration as one that reaches the hearts and minds of many, including Philadelphia. The photograph was such a crucial depiction of his presidency that it features in both “Dream Big Dreams,” and “Obama: An Intimate Portrait.”
Souza’s interaction with the public at the event was well-received. He took the opportunity to converse with many, even if it was for only a short period of time. He was kind in responding to questions the attendees had, and was gracious of their support. When asked about advice he could give to up and coming photojournalists, Souza strongly proclaimed, “take lots of pictures.” His time working for the White House was both hectic and rewarding, as his dynamic photography of the 44th President of the United States demonstrates.
Photos Courtesy of Angelique Arintok