What it takes to be a White House photographer

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Following is a transcription of the video.

Pete Souza: My attitude is, if you’re documenting for history, you wanna be there all the time, ’cause you don’t wanna miss anything. And you can’t always predict when history is gonna take place.

Narrator: That’s Pete Souza, former White House photographer to Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.

Pete: I think it’s important for history. I think it’s important to have these moments behind the scenes, where you get a real good sense of not only what he was like as a president, but what he was like as a human being.

Narrator: Pete was behind the camera for iconic Obama-era moments like this and this.

Pete: The photographs can show emotion and context and mood in a way that words can’t. The still image is something that is just seared in your brain.

Narrator: After documenting the lives of two sitting presidents, Pete Souza knows better than most what it takes to be a White House photographer.

Pete: I started out working for newspapers in Kansas and Chicago. In 1983, the White House photo editor at the time reached out to me about a position at the White House. So that’s what led to the job at the Reagan White House.

Narrator: After photographing the Reagan administration, Pete worked for National Geographic and as the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune. In 2004, when Barack Obama was elected senator of Illinois, Pete took an assignment to follow and photograph the up-and-coming senator.

Pete: That led to some, you know, real good access with Sen. Obama. I ended up going to five different countries with him. So I got to know him pretty well professionally. And so when he was elected to the presidency, he asked me to become his chief photographer. I don’t think my political views play into it at all. I mean, look, I worked for a Republican and Democrat. This job is about documenting the presidency for history. All this other stuff just doesn’t really matter.

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Narrator: Pete photographed Reagan and Obama during all eight years of both administrations.

Pete: Well, I think that was the most difficult part of the job for me. It was just, it was physically and mentally exhausting, to essentially put your personal life on hold for eight years.

Narrator: Just as he did with Reagan, Pete often followed Obama seven days a week.

Pete: Well, I mean, I was with him, like, every day.

Narrator: It was because Pete didn’t leave Obama’s side that he was able to capture this historic moment.

Pete: This is during the bin Laden raid. They’re monitoring it as it happens. So we were all jammed into this room for 40 minutes. You’ve got the most powerful people of the executive branch, and they’re essentially helpless. And I think you can feel the tension in that room just by looking at their faces. As the meeting’s breaking up at night, they know they have bin Laden, and it was just, like, such a subtle reaction to a momentous event in …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Life


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