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White House photographer on presidential Instagramming

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Pete Souza has taken a lot of photos of U.S. President Barack Obama. As the official White House photographer, Souza gets more access to the President than any other professional photographer. 

Souza is no stranger to photographic social media. His images are regularly posted on the White House's Flickr stream, where the Obama administration has been giving insight into the daily lives of the first family since the inauguration in 2009.

 

Two weeks ago, Souza made the plunge into Instagram. Talking to Time's international picture editor, Patrick Witty, Souza (@petesouza) revealed why he finally joined the mobile photographer's social network and what photos he plans on sharing with his 49,000 (and counting) followers.

 

TIME: What made you take the plunge and open an Instagram account?

The digital folks here at the White House have been asking me to do this for some time and I thought the time was right to finally take the plunge. 

TIME: How will your Instagram photos differ from what we see on the Flickr feed?

These will all be photos from the iPhone. Since my primary function will always be photographing with my regular cameras, the Instagram photos will be more from situations away from the primary action. 

TIME: I thought it was really interesting you opened your account with a photo of the Presidential seal, then went directly to a food photograph. It gave me the impression that the Instagram feed would maybe be lighter, more fun perhaps.

When we decided to begin, it was on a day that the President was traveling. So I purposely began with the Presidential seal on Air Force One as a way to introduce this account. The first thing I usually do when I get on-board the plane is grab a couple of grapes. So I guess I was telling viewers with this second photo that this account would also be a bit more fun and personal than the photographs we post to Flickr. 

TIME: Do you have a favorite Instagram filter?

My favorite filter is no filter. I think I’ve used Lo-Fi a couple of times. 

Read the rest of Time's interview with Pete Souza here

And as a bonus, here is a great PBS documentary about Souza and the presidential photographers who have come before him:

Watch Full Program on PBS. See more from The Presidents Photographer.

Comments

Total comments: 5
vroger1
By vroger1 (11 months ago)

I met the great Pete Souza at the Leica Gallery in NY. His work is stellar- so long as this is not a distraction....

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (11 months ago)

I wonder if he gets the rights of any of the photos. Doubtful. Interesting story.

0 upvotes
MikeInMI
By MikeInMI (11 months ago)

I'd bet that he has a "work for hire" contract and that the government has a royalty-free license to everything he shoots.

0 upvotes
Sudo Nimh
By Sudo Nimh (11 months ago)

Pete is an amazing photographer. Occasionally the Washington Post publishes a set of his photos, and they show great taste and a keen eye for the emotion in a scene.

0 upvotes
Aaron Tsuru
By Aaron Tsuru (11 months ago)

looks like he's a fan of one or both of the black & white filters too.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 5
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