I've been following the story of Pete Souza ever since it was discovered that the very first digital portrait of an American President was shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II back in 2009. His work is incredibly personal – he manages to show some very personal moments – and maybe it is because this is a very digital age and we share lots of info, it seems that we see a lot more photos of President Obama than earlier presidents. Scroll down to see his selections for the ‘best of 2012'.
Pete has an amazing job (and I can imagine it is incredibly time consuming and stressful at the same time) – he gets to travel the world and take photos of some incredible events in history. I'm sure he also gets to spend a lot of time waiting. I do recall reading that he (or someone on his staff) takes a photo of the president on just about every phone call and meeting for historical purposes.
Imagine having every photo you take be put into an historical archive – even the total botches and out of focus shots! It is required that no photo get deleted and all are archive. I also imagine they've got one heck of a system for archiving and logging all their photos as well.
I swapped a few emails with Pete back when we discovered the Canon EOS 5D Mark II relationship because I wanted to try to see if there was any way I could do an interview with him at the time. It turned out that due to the fact that the policy of the government is to not to be seen as endorsing any particular product, that I wouldn't be able to talk to him about gear so the event never came off… but I did feel privileged to even swap emails the the President's photographer!
There are a couple of documentaries about Pete and his job – one is on netflix if you happen to have that service. Here's one done by PBS that is online (and I got distracted watching it yet again!). I highly recommend you watch.
The Best Photos of 2012 by White House Photographer Pete Souza
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
A snap from the PBS documentary showing one of Pete's staff with a brand name camera strap – oops! I'll bet they got rid of that shortly after.[source: petapixel via our planet5D visual news]
(cover photo credit: snap from the slide show by Pete Souza)