Having followed a steep path from his working-class immigrant family in Massachusetts to the pinnacle of American photography, Pete Souza ended up working for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama -- the only Chief White House photographer to have documented two presidencies. "The odds of someone getting two calls to work at the White House are pretty slim," he tells Alec with true humility, saying both stints were "accidental." That's hard to believe: Souza's unique ability to capture the moment without sacrificing composition won him plaudits for his work on daily papers well before he joined Reagan in 1983. But even though he's an old-school news photographer, he has a decidedly new-school following, thanks to the millions around the world who followed @obamawhitehouse on Instagram, and who now follow Souza himself. As Souza found his post-White House footing as a social media star, his Instagram turned into the catharsis bruised Blue America didn't know it needed. When the travel ban was announced, Souza posted Obama with a smiling Muslim schoolgirl. And the day before this episode of Here's the Thing went live, when Trump made nice to Putin in Helsinki, Souza posted Obama sternly towering over his Russian counterpart. The Obama images, as he tells Alec, "appeal to people because of what we have now." It's an appeal he hopes to capitalize on in his new book of Trump-Obama juxtapositions, Shade.
Special for Alec and WNYC, Souza gathered his favorite Obama photos that didn't make it into his book Obama, an Intimate Portrait. You can find them below if you're reading this on the web; if not, go to www.heresthething.org.
President Barack Obama plays with his niece Savita during the family's vacation on Martha's Vineyard in August, 2012 (Pete Souza, the White House)
Sasha Obama leans over her father as Malia touches his head ca. 2009 (Pete Souza, the White House)
Daniel Day-Lewis at the White House: 'Lincoln' Star reads the Gettysburg Address with Obama in November 2012 (Pete Souza, the White House)
President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Norman Manley International Airport prior to departure from Kingston, Jamaica en route to Panama City, Panama in April 2015 (Pete Souza, the White House)
Obama crawls around in the Oval Office with Communications Director Jen Psaki’s daughter, Vivi, in April 2016 (Pete Souza, the White House)
Obama looks on as comedian Will Ferrell reads "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" to first-term cabinet-members. (Pete Souza, the White House)
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