White House photographer Pete Souza collects his favorite pictures of 2010
White House photographer Pete Souza has one of the more enviable jobs in the world. He follows President Obama everywhere that he goes to document his every move. Aboard Air Force One, in the top-secret situation room, in the well of Congress before a State of the Union address or in the frigid Rose Garden as the president plays in the snow with his daughters, Souza does an excellent job of not merely recording history but adding an artistic flair into his photos.
Specifically, Souza is the chief official White House photographer and also holds the title of director of the White House photo office. Before Obama tapped him for the job, Souza was an associate professor of photojournalism at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication. No stranger to the White House, Souza was previously the official White House photographer for President Reagan.
"I think creating a good photographic archive for history is the most important part of my job ... creating this archive that will live on" Souza told National Geographic last month during its special "The President's Photographer: 50 Years in the Oval Office".
Souza and his staff produce about 20,000 photographs a week, he said. "The job of presidential photographer is all about access and trust, and if you have both of those you're going to make interesting, historic pictures," Souza said.
With this year-end collection, Souza wrote on the White House blog that he was attempting a balance:
I tried to include photographs that show President Obama in a variety of behind-the-scenes situations and ones that also represent the successes and challenges he faced during the year. A few playful moments, some with his family, are also included. I wrote first-person captions to accompany each photograph to hopefully give the viewer some added context where needed. Taken together, the slide show will hopefully provide people with a window into the Obama presidency from 2010.
Souza and Obama have been relatively groundbreaking in their use of Flickr to allow people access to and use of official White House photographs. Some of the best of Souza's 2010 presidential photos can be seen in the slide show above or here on Flickr.
-- Tony Pierce
Photo: President Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office on May 8, 2009. The youngster wanted to see whether the president's haircut felt like his own. Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza