April 27th, 2009
11:12 AM ET
5 years ago

Official White House photographer gets inside view

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton share a conversation on board Air Force One.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton share a conversation on board Air Force One.

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(CNN) - It's early April, and President Obama is on his way to France with the nation's top diplomat at his side. As he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton converse in a private room aboard Air Force One, a photographer peers through the half-open door and snaps a candid picture of the formerly bitter campaign rivals.

Photographing two of the most powerful people in the country up-close and personal may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to most Americans. But for photographer Pete Souza, it's a common occurrence.

"I try to photograph everything. Every meeting that the president does," Souza told CNN's John King on "State of the Union."

Watch: Portrait of a president

On leave of absence from his normal post as an assistant professor of photojournalism at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication, Souza is the chief official White House photographer for President Obama, meaning he has an all-access pass to the president's most intimate and private moments.

"I look at my job as a visual historian," Souza said on Sunday. "The most important thing is to create a good visual archive for history, so 50 or a hundred years from now, people can go back and look at all these pictures."

While he relishes his unobstructed seat to a historic administration, he knows his limits.

Full story

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. obama/mama

    "Former bitter campaign rivals".....Nobobdy looks bitter in that photo.

    April 27, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. thank you mr pres

    you are doing a great job

    April 27, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. Robert

    God Bless you, Obama and Clinton.

    Please take us out of the mess created by Bush and his fellow criminals Cheney and Rumsfled.

    Please end the wars started by Bush and his Warmonger, Oil greedy friends.

    April 27, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Mississippi Mike

    Isn't it ironic that Hillary is Barack's secretary? That just cracks me up. Here she was the front-runner for president and now she is a secretary for her former opponent. Too good to be true.

    Also, do we really need MORE photographers following Obama around trying to make him look good? I feel like the news media has turned into the paparazzi.

    April 27, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. yuri

    One time Dem. primary rivals are sharing some stellar seconds , possibly, in a sitrep. setting and that seems soothin' to us. If only the duo can conquer the cons and callosities of the political world! Let's wait 'n' watch.

    April 27, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Pat

    Finally – real down to earth folks in the white house.

    April 27, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Matt

    @ Robert

    AMEN!! From your lips to God's ears!

    April 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. ch

    To Mississippi Mike – You are kidding right?

    There is nothing secretarial about being the Secretary of State.

    As Secretary of State, Hillary is the President’s main advisor on U.S. foreign policy, she is in charge of negotiations of the United States' foreign affairs, and is responsible for the appointment of U.S. ambassadors.

    She is in charge of immigration laws abroad, supervises the Foreign Services of the United States, and promotes the economic intercourse between the U.S.A. and other foreign countries.

    As the highest-ranking Cabinet member, the Secretary of State is fourth in line to succeed the Presidency.

    So clearly Hillary Clinton isn’t taking dictation and ordering office supplies.

    By the way, the state of Mississippi rank DEAD last in education and you are a living example of that sad fact!

    April 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. w.l. jones

    If you look deep into America we can see one other. Said enough.

    April 27, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. joseph

    Being an ordinary retired American living on a fixed income I can only offer a wish. I wish I would win a multi-state multi-million dollar lottery so I could spend the millions on a TV add supporting President Obama's health plan.

    April 27, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. strong

    "Portrait of a President." Wow, how unique. (... eyes rolling).

    April 27, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. leon

    The image is disgusting. We saw and heard candidate Obama and his team saying that Hillary did not have any real international experience and was not part of any important negotiation or task to make her qualified. A couple of months later president Obama and his team said that Hillary was the most qualified person for the highest diplomatic job in the coutry. Is that change? Is that new kind of politics? Is that a new way to do things in Washington?

    Obama has sourronded himself with Clinton's people (great change) we might have better get Hillary instead of him.

    He is a higher dosis of the same and he was and is an average politician from the corrupted school of politics from Chicago

    April 27, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. George James

    Obama is doing a great job in such a difficult period.Mind you,the Republicans say 'NO' to everything and pose 'Obstructionism',without caring that they are primarly responsible for the mess!!!

    April 27, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Cali Mike

    Man I am so proud to be an American in 2009. This is the best year to ever be a US citizen. Hardships only make us stronger by making us work together

    April 27, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Vickie

    @ch
    Thank You! I needed that laugh today. :)

    April 27, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Chamorrita, MD

    It's truly a blessing to have a President that's all about the "people". He's very down to earth and very intelligent beyond words. President Obama is man destined to do great things. His mind is very disciplined and very precise when it comes to absorbing and multi-tasking. The icing on the cake is that he's very YUMMY to look at. We've got one "HOT LOOKING" President and other countries are "drooling" over him!!

    April 27, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Thomas

    I think being the White House photographer would be a cool job!

    It is good that there is a system where our presidents can be have their terms captured in photographs that future generations can look at.

    April 27, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. Keefe

    I must admit, when Barrack and Hillary were deuling it out in the primarys, I was very sad..

    I think most of us liked them both and wanted their fight to end as soon as possible...

    Everytime I see them together and working together it just brings tears of joy to my eyes.....

    I'm EXTREMELY HAPPY with these 2......

    April 27, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The Republicans can learn something from these campaign rivals, but they won't.

    April 27, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |

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