White House photographers are not just taking pictures; they are documenting history and preserving a legacy. Whatever your political views, there is one thing that will not change about the Barack Obama presidency: He was the nation's first African-American elected to the highest office in the land. This was a hard-won feat that many, particularly those who grew up during the era of Jim Crow, never believed would see accomplished in their lifetime. But it did and everything else that followed was equally historic.
Now, a year removed from the 2016 presidential election, when it became all too real that the Obamas would be departing from the White House, returning to civilian life and moving on to new endeavors, White House photographer Pete Souza commemorates those eight years of hope and change in a brand new picture book on Obama's historic presidency. The book, "Obama: An Intimate Portrait," is the second of three published by Souza. His third book will be released in two weeks and is specifically for young readers who, like Obama, dare to dream big.
Selecting from over two million photographs taken over eight years, Souza captured the highlights of the Obama presidency, like the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and the more somber moments, like having to visit parents and families in Newtown, Conn., after children and educators were violently gunned down in 2012. Souza wasn't just a photographer, he became a trusted friend that the president spent as much time with as he did his own family. Souza captured every posed and candid shot he could over the eight years he served as White House chief photographer. The candid shots are what make this book special. It is in these that you see the humanity and genuine compassion of a man some criticized for being "too cerebral."
There is a hardcover version and a deluxe limited edition. Both have the foreword written by Obama himself. The book is beautifully crafted, like Souza's other Obama picture books, and contains more than 300 photos – some that have never been seen before. Between photographs are personal stories, anecdotes and intimate details on what life is like in the Oval Office. Google Books says Souza captures the "exceptional intimacy and a stunning record of a landmark era in American history," while Jonathan Jones of The Guardian says An Intimate Portrait " tell the true story of a presidency that words have failed."
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On Nov. 21, Souza will have another Obama picture book out for young readers, called "Dream Big Dreams: Photographs from Barack Obama's Inspiring and Historic Presidency." "The Rise of Barack Obama," Souza's first book, was a New York Times best-seller. Both "An Intimate Portrait" and "Dream Big Dreams" are already Amazon best-sellers. Souza is currently on a book tour to promote this new work.
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