Eye Candy Friday: White House Photographers

Written on January 13, 2012 by in Artistry & inspiration

Did you know that the White House has a Flickr stream? There, you can keep up with all the latest presidential activities—historic and everyday—through the lens of Chief Official White House Photographer and Director of the White House Photography Office, Pete Souza, and his staff.

I discovered the Flickr stream after watching The President’s Photographer: 50 Years in the Oval Office, a National Geographic Special discussing the role of the White House’s chief photographer beginning with Yoichi Okamoto, who served President Johnson. While the film focuses primarily on Souza and President Obama, there are also anecdotes and images from David Hume Kennerly (photographer for Gerald Ford); David Valdez (for George H.W. Bush); Bob McNeely (for Bill Clinton); and Eric Draper (for George W. Bush). If you’re a fan of documentary photography and haven’t seen The President’s Photographer, I highly recommend it. You can catch it on Netflix or PBS

“The job of presidential photographer is all about access and trust, and if you have both of those you’re going to make interesting, historic pictures.” — Pete Souza

As a photographer with a documentary approach, I am just in awe of Souza’s images and envious of his role. Who wouldn’t want a front-row seat to history, even if it comes with 13-hour work days? Ok, I admit the work hours are crazy, but I would still love to do this job, even if for one day. How about you?

The White House Flickr stream recently posted a new set: 2011 Year in Photos, chosen by Souza. Here are some of my favorites:

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza. Click any image to see its EXIF data.

First family at Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 19, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Presidential visit to Moneygall, Ireland. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A visit with the Queen. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady with former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Obama and Biden (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It’s interesting to read Souza’s comments about each image in the set. I particularly enjoyed his remark about the official family portrait: “Since portraiture is not my strong suit, I tried to make the setup as simple as possible.” A nice little reminder that even photographers working at the White House have strengths and weaknesses, just like the rest of us. :-)

Do you have any favorites among the presidential Flickr stream? Share away in the comments.


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  1. Jody Yarborough
    February 3, 2012

    I watched the same documentary some months back and I LOVED IT! As a lover of both history and documentary photography, this subject captivates me. Great blog!
    Jody Yarborough recently posted..The Inspired Way: A Free E-book

    • Kate Watson
      February 3, 2012

      Thanks, Jody! Glad you stopped by. And look at you with the swanky new blog. Congrats

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