BY HELEN LAME’
Long time Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza, who worked under both President’s Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, entertained an appreciative sold crowd of 1,400 enthusiastic fans during a Commonwealth Club appearance Tuesday night at the Castro Theatre.
Souza, 62, documented the entire eight years of the Obama administration in addition to the final five and a half of the Reagan era. A New England native and graduate of Boston University, Souza is on a nationwide tour publicizing the recent release of his new coffee-table book “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” that quickly ascended to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list.
Chronicling some of the most historic and intimate moments of Obama’s tenure, Souza and his team shot over two million images ranging from meetings with world leaders and the iconic photo of the 44th President and his team in the situation room during the tense raid on the bin Laden compound to intimate captures of Obama and First Lady Michelle nuzzling in a freight elevator, along with getting smashed in the face with a snowball on the White House lawn by one his daughters.
Souza first met Obama in 2005, shortly after his election to the US Senate. The parallels of his first photos of the future President in an office with barren walls compared to those in the Oval Office was striking. In a 70 minute slide presentation that was followed by a 30 minute Q & A with former Obama Senior Strategy Advisor Dan Pfeffier, he detailed how he was a near constant companion to the most powerful man in the world while obtaining the necessary security clearances to allow him access to both classified briefings and meetings with foreign heads of state.
A self-described “Subtle Instagrammer” with over a million followers for his well-timed, on the mark responses to many of the faux pas of the Trump administration, Souza was granted the honor of a White House wedding in the Rose Garden in 2013 by his friend, President Obama.