Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Pete Souza: Master Of The White house
Pete Souza has been official photographer to two U.S. presidents. His access and an ability to catch intimate moments enable him to create images that illustrate history.
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
In 1846, James Polk became the first president to be photographed, but it wasn't until the Kennedy administration that the first official White House photographer was appointed. Pete Souza has one of the most unique jobs in the world. He's Chief Official White House Photographer and Director of the White House Photography Office for President Obama's administration.
President Reagan works alone in the Oval Office in 1987.
Souza has won numerous photojournalism awards in and out of the White House, including the prestigious Pictures of the Year International annual competition, the National Press Photographers Association's Best of Photojournalism and the White House News Photographers Association's yearly contest. Originally from South Dartmouth, Mass., Souza graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in public communication from Boston University and a master's degree in journalism and mass communication from Kansas State University.
DPP: How does one become a White House photographer?
Pete Souza: In every case, it's different. For me, I got to know Senator Obama when he first became a Senator and I was based in Washington, D.C., working for the Chicago Tribune. I spent a lot of time with him because we were doing a feature on his first year in the Senate. I got to know him; he got to know me. He liked the way I worked, and he liked my photos. So one thing led to another. When he was elected president, he asked me to be his photographer.
DPP: Did you hire additional staff? You can't work 24 hours a day.
Souza: Sometimes I feel like I do! I did hire staff—three other photographers, a couple of editors and someone to handle the paperwork. It's pretty much a seven-day-a-week job, though I try to take Sundays off. If he goes golfing, I'll have someone else cover it. I've taken one weekday off in the last two years.
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