Photographing a President

One of the few people who will serve the entire two terms of Obama’s presidency is White House photographer Pete Souza. Jonathan Jones wrote a fitting tribute to the man who will have spent eight years “photographing the real Barack Obama.”

These images tell the true story of a presidency that words have failed. After all the hate, anger, birther theories, leftist critiques, rightist critiques, and even the liberal white awe of a “cool” black dude vanishes into the babble of the past, Souza’s photographs will tell the story of a leader who was calm under fire, unfazed by office, unquenchably human, and who showed the way for all the kids who passed through his Oval Office, and millions more, to be good people, good Americans, and good citizens of the world. Will we miss the man in these pictures? Hell, yes.

Here are a few of Souza’s photographs that Jones chose to highlight.

Feb 2016 – Watching the first lady dance with 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin in the Blue Room of the White House

July 2012 – For one small child, the Oval Office becomes a playground and the president a playmate.

March 2015 – The Obamas share an intimate moment as they mark the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches.

June 2013 – Obama hugs his daughter Sasha during a visit to Nelson Mandela’s former prison cell in South Africa.

Finally, this is not one that Jones included, but on Memorial Day it seems fitting to include this one from last year’s ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery when President Obama greeted 107 year-old Retired Army Lt. Col. Luta Mae Cornelius McGrath, a World War II veteran.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.