Pete Souza

Pete Souza Bio Headshot

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.

Hair like mine. Jacob Philadelphia touches the head of President Obama in the Oval Office.

His 2018 book, Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, also debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Shade is a portrait in Presidential contrasts, telling the tale of the Obama and Trump administrations through a series of visual juxtapositions.
Souza's most recent photography book, The West Wing and Beyond: What I Saw Inside the Presidency, was published in September 2022. This book takes you inside the presidential bubble with photographs and stories of consequential moments and traditions with the people who define our nation’s highest office—from the senior White House staff to the Oval Office valets. It delivers new insights into the role of the Secret Service, the seriousness of decisive meetings in the West Wing, and even some fun moments aboard Air Force One.

Based on his best-selling books, Souza became the subject of documentary film in November 2020, The Way I See It. Directed by Dawn Porter–and produced by Porter, Laura Dern, Evan Hayes and Jayme Lemons–the film takes an unprecedented look behind the scenes of two of the most iconic Presidents in history, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through Souza's eyes and camera. As Official White House Photographer for both these Presidents, Souza was an eyewitness to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of being the most powerful man in the world. The film also reveals how Souza transformed from a respected White House photographer and photojournalist to a searing commentator on the importance of having someone with empathy and dignity in the office of the Presidency. The film was nominated for an Emmy, premiering on MSNBC and became the highest rated non-news, non-live program ever. Souza also won the Critic's Choice Award for Most Compelling Living Subject of a documentary.

President Obama and his national security aides monitor the bin Laden raid in the Situation Room of the White House in 2011.

Souza started his career working for two small newspapers in Kansas. From there, he worked as a staff photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times; an Official Photographer for President Reagan; a freelancer for National Geographic and other publications; the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune based in their Washington bureau; and an assistant professor of photojournalism at Ohio University; before becoming Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama in 2009.
In addition to the national political scene, Souza has covered stories around the world. After 9/11, he was among the first journalists to cover the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, after crossing the Hindu Kush mountains by horseback in three feet of snow. Also while at the Tribune, Souza was part of the staff awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for explanatory reporting on the airline industry.



Books, Films and Exhibitions

Souza has had solo exhibits of his photographs at numerous galleries: the Leica Gallery in NYC; Stephen Kasher Gallery in NYC; The Kennedys Museum in Berlin, Germany; Etruscan Museum in Cortona, Italy; Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas; Fermilab in Illinois; U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; Navy Museum in Washington, D.C.; University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Boston University; Ohio University in Athens, Ohio; and the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. His photographs have also been part of group exhibits at the National Archives, Smithsonian Museum of American History, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Newseum, and the 92nd Street Y in NYC. He currently has two traveling exhibits, "Obama: An Intimate Portrait" and "Two Presidents: Obama and Reagan".

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *