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Matinee: Pete Souza Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

7 January 2017

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 169th in our series of Saturday matinees today: the BBC's interview with White House photographer Pete Souza.

Earlier this week, we linked to a slide show of Souza's picks of the year in photographs but in a few days eight years of capturing Barack Obama's presidency will come to an end.

The BBC recently talked to Souza about the experience. In this short clip we get to hear from the man himself as his favorite images over the eight year assignment flash across the screen.

Souza estimates he will have taken about two million photographs.

It all starts in 2005 before Obama's election, he tells us. Souza captured the Illinois senator walking around Red Square where nobody knew who he was. It was picture you might never see again, Souza knew.

Everything changed, of course, when Obama moved to the White House.

It took Obama several months to realize that Souza "was not going to go away," as Souza put it. But that's how you show every aspect of his life from the serious stuff to horsing around with a young visitor or the more intimate moments among his family.

Souza estimates he will have taken about two million photographs. He doesn't say whether that includes the over 2,100 posts on his Instagram account.

The hard ones, he reveals, are the ones of the President consoling families in the aftermath of a tragedy. He doesn't regret taking them but it was difficult to focus on the job in the company of a family who had just lost a loved one to violence.

Every year he has curated a selection of his White House images and this clip curates eight years of them. No doubt a few will be familiar.

"It's the body of work that's important," Souza concludes. There isn't one particular image that sums it all up. No one image could.

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