"Adveraging roughly 20,000 pictures per week"

Pete Souza (taking the photo) is the current Chief official White House photographer. He’s actually the first White House photographer to serve under two presidents, Reagan and Obama. Souza and his staff shoot roughly 20,000 photos a week.

Barack Obama and Air Force One

Pete Souza’s work is known for his bold composition and framing, as you can see here in the shot of the hubbub surrounding an Air Force One landing.

Barack Obama

Another of Souza’s shots.

John F. Kennedy and Kids

In this famous shot, Cecil Stoughton had been hanging around the Oval Office when he heard Kennedy clapping his hands for an unscheduled visit from Caroline and John-John.

"Documenting a nightmare"

President Bush takes notes while TV news coverage of the burning towers play in the background.

Gerald Ford, at Home

In the wake of of Nixons’ resignation, the White House wasn’t quite ready for new occupants. So the Fords continued to live in their home for the next several days. One of their sons, Steve, recalls his mother cooking dinner in the kitchen one night and jokingly said to Ford, "Jerry, something’s wrong here. I’m still cooking and you’re President of the United States."

Unscripted Access with George H.W. Bush

When George H.W. Bush was still Vice President, photographer David Valdez built a warm relationship with the Bushes. Valdez was thus granted an almost familial level of trust and access. Here’s an image he made one summer in the Bushes bedroom at the Vice President’s residence, Number One Observatory Circle.

The Clintons

All photographers have their own style. Bob McNeely, who served under Clinton, shot primarily in black and white. "Black and white captures the humanity of people in a way that color can’t," he says. "Color becomes distracting."

Barack Obama

Another one of Souza’s striking compositions, taking while Obama speaks at a health care rally at the University of Maryland in September 2009.

Barack Obama

One of President Obama’s personal favorites. When White House staffer Carlton Philadelphia brought his family in to meet the President, the son declared that he’s been told that he and the President had the same haircut.

"and he helpfully pointed out all the gray hairs and then he decided to pat me on the head, just to get a feel for it." -President Obama

The President's Photographer

The President’s Photographer, Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office is available for purchase for $23. The PBS television special airs on Wednesday November 24, 2010.

For more images from Pete Souza check out his flickr page.


The President's Photographer: 50 Years Inside the Oval Office [Slideshow]

On November 24th, PBS is airing a National Geographic special, looking back at fifty years of work by official White House photographers. To go along with that show, the National Geographic Society, recently published The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office, which tells hundreds of stories in front of the lens and behind it.

The first official White House photographer was Cecil Stoughton, who served under John F. Kennedy. Since then, Stroughton's successors have become vital historians of inside the so-called Presidential bubble. At times, the pictures are magisterial. Other times, they're startlingly intimate — few civilians ever get as much access to the President, including even members of his cabinet. Here's a look at some of the shots contained in the book.

For more images from Pete Souza check out his flickr page.

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