Relive the Bygone Glory of Obama’s Presidency in a New Book by His White House Photographer

As official White House photographer, Pete Souza took some two million images.

Pete Souza, President Barack Obama makes Thanksgiving Day phone calls from the Oval Office to US troops stationed around the world, Nov. 24, 2016. Courtesy of the White House, via Flickr.
Pete Souza, President Barack Obama makes Thanksgiving Day phone calls from the Oval Office to US troops stationed around the world, Nov. 24, 2016. Courtesy of the White House, via Flickr.

As the chief White House photographer under Barack Obama, Pete Souza took approximately two million photos of the former president. Now, that rich trove of images will become the source material for a new book, Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs.

Set to be published by Little, Brown and Company, the volume will feature only about 300 shots—Souza has identified a smaller pool of just 10,000 to chose from as part of his efforts to show Obama “in all facets of his life,” he told the New York Times, noting that important political moments would be paired with images of the president with his family.

“While Pete Souza had an undeniably photogenic and charismatic subject to work with, he also had the eye and the heart to capture him in the moments that tell a bigger and more lasting story—about who he is, and even who we all can be. We’re thrilled to be publishing this stunning record of a landmark era in American history,” said Reagan Arthur, publisher of Little, Brown, and Company, in a statement.

Since Donald Trump took office in January, Souza has been making the most of his massive archive of Obama photographs by featuring them on a new Instagram account.

Those damn lights 😉

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

He’s been quite pointed in his selections, often subtly poking fun at reported difficulties in the Trump White House, such as suggestions that staff were having meetings in the dark, unable to find light switches.

Last week, after White House guests Sarah Palin, Kid Rock, and Ted Nugent posed mockingly with the official portrait of Hillary Clinton, Souza dug up an image of Obama having a chat with a colleague under Ronald Reagan’s portrait, captioning it “Being respectful.”

Being respectful.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Most recently, ahead of Trump’s 100-day marker on April 28, Souza showcased Obama’s productivity during the same period in 2009, inviting comparisons to the tumultuous start to the Trump administration.

Souza posted images of Obama visiting American allies in France, the Czech Republic, as well as American troops in Iraq, among many international trips he made at the beginning of his presidency. In contrast, Trump has yet to leave the country, although he’s been to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida five times already.

Prior to Souza’s time with Obama, who quickly became a close friend—the president hosted the photographer’s wedding in the Rose Garden at the White House—he was also the official White House photographer for Ronald Reagan.

This will be Souza’s second book about Obama, following 2008’s The Rise of Barack Obama.


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