Obama's Photographer Reflects on 8 Years

Jan 30, 2018

On Monday afternoon, former White House photographer Pete Souza spoke to a packed University of Virginia auditorium, about what it was like to follow Barack Obama for eight years. WMRA’s Jordy Yager has more.

For two terms Souza tracked Obama’s every move, snapping more than 1.9 million photographs. From the raid to kill Osama bin Laden and the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, to the passage of the Affordable Care Act and candid moments with his young daughters and the first lady.

But Souza said, the real gems happened when he least expected it. 

PETE SOUZA: I’d drive to the White House and I’d hang around with Barack Obama all day. That’s what I did. And I got to say that there were days when it was like watching paint dry, where nothing really visually exciting was taking place. But, if you look at my pictures, I think some of my best pictures are from nothing events.

Souza pointed to the moment he captured Obama in the Oval Office bending over to let a 5-year old African-American boy touch his hair.

SOUZA: That’s like an everyday nothing event, but that’s what keeps you on your toes, is looking for these little tiny moments, slice of life, that tell you a lot about him as a person.