Obama, his view and his longing


By Sterre Sprengers

Sometimes it is more a staring in the distance, leaning back, his face towards the sky. At other times his hunched position suggests he really is looking at something. What he is truly looking at, we don’t know. That is what makes these images so powerful. A window suggests a world outside. Whereas a door provides access to that outside world, a window is both transparent and a hermetically closed wall at the same time. The rooms tend to be neoclassical: he is following in the footsteps of his predecessors.The President is small, the windows are enormous: he has dedicated his life to this task. The play of light: his obligations are momentous. The lonely staring into the carefree outside world: only he and his predecessors know the burden of this heavy task. It’s lonely at the top.                                                                                                                      @ Pete Souza/ The White House

@ Pete Souza/ The White House

You can see the entire ‘view’ 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.