Obama and the secret of his love


By Sterre Sprengers

Every couple knows the difference between affection in private and affection in public. A kiss or a heartfelt embrace feel different when you’re being watched. It often feels awkward. It means that a public display of affection feels more demonstrative, more like a statement. This doesn’t mean that the love is less sincere or that it should not be seen, but it serves a different purpose. It is evidence. Like a bridal couple that kisses to seal their newly sworn everlasting love, with everyone cheering on. Barack doesn’t have to claim her, because he has no competition. Everybody know she is his wife. But it is important to keep showing that he loves her, and that their relationship is healthy. Every suggestion of disinterest or rejection can start to live its own life on the pages of the tabloids. You can argue in private. Publicly, love is part of the job.

@ Pete Souza/ The White House

@ Pete Souza/ The White House

You can see the entire ‘love’ 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’. You can see the entire project here.