By Sterre Sprengers
It might be an occupational hazard, but I have even more respect for Pete Souza sticking to his job for eight years than for Obama. It is probably because I simply cannot imagine what it would be like to be the President of one of the most powerful countries on earth. I can imagine how it must be to take pictures of the same subject for such a long time. Quite difficult. Of course Souza says he is never bored, because it is great to be allowed to take picture of the President from up close. This is imagebuilding too. He is a good photographer, and he has an extraordinary position. But I cannot imagine that he doesn’t sigh once in a while when he enters the Oval Office: what photographic trick shall I perform today to get an interesting result?
You can see the entire collection here.
For eight years, White House photographer Pete Souza took 20,000 pictures a week of Obama. That’s right, 20,000 a week, many of which were posted on the White House Flickr account. Sterre Sprengers, image editor at De Correspondent, has followed his work for years, in search of patterns – patterns that reveal relationships of power, etiquette, love. And patterns that subtly reveal the image of the president that Souza created with his images. As time went on, once he had firmly established the presidential image, he took fewer solemn portraits and more images that were lighthearted or artistic. Gradually his work for the White House came to reflect his own personal taste. That is an achievement.
Until Jan. 20th, when Obama’s successor Trump will be inaugurated, the John Adams will present once a day an image and a text from the project Sterre Sprengers published on the daily online news medium ‘De Correspondent’.
Collection 1: Obama at work.
No matter where you are standing in The Oval Office, whether it is day or night, you’re always in a big photo studio.
Collection 2: Obama eating a hamburger.
Obama likes fast food.
Collection 3: Obama likes to do (most of) the talking.
Everyone present benefits if the image is created that this is an intimate gathering. This is not a hostile, business-like meeting.
Collection 4: Obama and the flying babies.
Children can disarm the most powerful man on earth.
Collection 5: Obama and the secret of his love.
Barack doesn’t have to claim her, because he has no competition. Everybody know she is his wife.
Collection 6: Obama, his view and his longing.
The President is small, the windows are enormous: he has dedicated his life to this task. The play of light: his obligations are momentous.
Collection 7: The First Lady is dancing to her own tune.
This means vegetables and gardening, jumping rope and playing tug-of- war, sack racing and yoga, playing table tennis and dancing.
Collection 8: Obama and his selfish Selfies.
And Obama? He knows how it works. For him there is one thing left to do: pose!
Collection 9: Obama’s contagious laugh.
Real laughter is fundamentally different from smiling.
Collection 10: The big exeption.
But this time, it is different. The composition reveals that Souza is surprised too.