Chronicling history through photography

Chronicling American history through the lens of a legendary White House photographer.

As 2016 presses on, we rapidly approach the end of Barack Obama’s 8 year tenure as President of the United States. Its been a remarkable period of time in so many ways – that has shaped everything from healthcare reform to the political landscape in foreign lands.

Whatever your political allegiance, or however big a fan or hater you are of the man, it’s important for the future to look back on these times to learn, remember and understand all that went on – and not just those few shots or pieces of footage that get picked up by the world’s media and used on every front page or top story.

From the first day of Obama’s Presidency, Pete Souza has been chronicling every candid pause, phone call, visit, conversation, embrace and basketball game as one of the official White House photographers. His shots are incredibly well framed and astute in their observations – providing rarely seen glimpses of those moments that poignantly illustrate the kind of man Obama really is. Souza has imperious form – he shadowed Ronald Reagan throughout his presidency from 1983 to 1989, and was a photographer with The Chicago Tribune (stationed at the Washington, D.C bureau) between 1998 and 2007, which allowed him to chart the rise of then Senator Obama to the Oval Office.

image1April 28, 2010 "Sometimes the unexpected happens. At a cafe in Missouri, I was trying to capture patrons snapping photos of each other with the President when this guy did what wise-guys do." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.


The White House have shared all of the pictures on their official Flickr page. It’s the kind of well organised, logically filed and charmingly narrated image archive that we implore all of our clients to build. Whilst we see it as a vital component in telling the journey of a business, person or brand – it is a time consuming library that so few are able to compile.
But when it’s done well (and be it on Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or any of the other gallery focused channels) it allows everyone to learn so much more about that organisation, and in ways that they feel comfortable with. People may not have the time or inclination to read a 3,000 word article, but they can quickly flick through an image library or video feed to digest the information and soak up the knowledge that is important to them.




It’s going to be fascinating to see how The White House image library continues to grow over the next four, or eight, years as the new President takes office. With very different personalities, at different stages of their lives, I doubt that the shots will be quite as openly candid or heartwarming.


All images credit: Pete Souza / The White House

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