Pete Souza and Candid Photography

Pete Souza is a photojournalist and was the former Chief Official White House Photographer for presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. While he also did portraits of Reagan and Obama, he is perhaps best known for his candid photography of Obama. While in candid photography the subjects usually know that they are being photographed, the major differences between candid photography and creative photography is that the scenes are not constructed and the subjects are not posed. I really appreciate the candid style of photography and think that Pete Souza’s work is one of the foremost examples of this style.

The attached, untitled photograph is of Obama during an early budget meeting in January of 2009. This is an excellent example of how candid photography can capture emotion that many would not like captured. Pete Souza commented on his photo, saying that “Our society has a lot of unspoken norms about strength and vulnerability in men and in leaders. Certainly, the two parties do. With Obama inheriting a country in free fall, it’s interesting how some people could appreciate the intention of the photos — of Obama digging deep, reflecting on high, or taking the weight of the crisis on his shoulders — where others just saw weakness.”


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