Behind Closed Doors: In the Oval Office with the Presidents’ Photographers

Behind Closed Doors Seminar Cover

Behind Closed Doors: In the Oval Office with the Presidents’ Photographers

Former chief White House photographer for President Barack Obama Pete Souza and former chief White House photographer for President Gerald R. Ford David Hume Kennerly will show photos and talk about their experiences working behind closed doors of the American presidency.

The discussion will be moderated by James Hornstein, a leading intellectual property attorney. Kennerly was the third civilian to hold that job, Souza the ninth. Both had unparalleled access to their subjects along with the inner workings of the American presidency. They were part of the inner circle. Their photographs will zero in on the access they had and will accentuate the relationship between the president and his staff, his family, and others in the presidential orbit.

Both Souza and Kennerly had Top Secret clearances and were in the most sensitive meetings conducted in the White House. The two photographers will discuss the responsibility that came with their job, and what the photos mean in understanding the most powerful job on the planet. Souza and Kennerly come from a strong news photography background, and their photos reflect that experience. As presidential photographers they were in it first and foremost to document history, not to make their subjects look good or bad.

This panel will provide fresh insight into what makes a president tick by two people who know and have been there.

  • Duration: 60 min


05 Mar 2024


17:10 - 18:10
Stage X


Stage X


  • David Hume Kennerly
    David Hume Kennerly

    David Hume Kennerly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, achieved acclaim at 25 for his Vietnam War coverage. Appointed Chief White House Photographer by President Ford in 1974, he documented eleven U.S. presidents.

    Kennerly, a Lucie Award recipient, contributed to Time, Life, and Newsweek, and authored books like “Shooter” and “Extraordinary Circumstances.” In 2019, the University of Arizona acquired his archive, and he became the university’s first Presidential Scholar. A Canon Legends member, he received the 2015 Lucie Award for photojournalistic excellence.

  • Pete Souza
    Pete Souza

    Pete Souza is a freelance photographer based in Madison, Wisconsin. Souza was the Chief Official White House Photographer for all eight years of the Obama administration. In 2021, he was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame. Souza is also Professor Emeritus of Visual Communication at Ohio University. His book, Obama: An Intimate Portrait, was published by Little, Brown & Company in 2017, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.


  • James Hornstein
    James Hornstein
    From childhood amateur photographer with a basement darkroom to high school newspaper sports photographer, James Hornstein has enjoyed photography from a very early age. Photography found a place in his 47-year diverse legal practice – resolving infringement and other legal problems for Joe Rosenthal, Neil Leifer, David Hume Kennerly and many others.
Xposure International Photography Festival


Xposure International Photography Festival
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