The Obama Portraits

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-25 21:01Z by Steven

The Obama Portraits

Princeton University Press
152 pages
7 x 9 in.
76 color illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691203287

Edited by:

Taína Caragol, Curator of Painting and Sculpture and Latino Art and History
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Dorothy Moss, Curator of Painting and Sculpture
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Kim Sajet, Director
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

From the moment of their unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in early 2018, the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama have become two of the most beloved artworks of our time. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former first lady have inspired unprecedented responses from the public, and attendance at the museum has more than doubled as visitors travel from near and far to view these larger-than-life paintings. After witnessing a woman drop to her knees in prayer before the portrait of Barack Obama, one guard said, “No other painting gets the same kind of reactions. Ever.” The Obama Portraits is the first book about the making, meaning, and significance of these remarkable artworks.

Richly illustrated with images of the portraits, exclusive pictures of the Obamas with the artists during their sittings, and photos of the historic unveiling ceremony by former White House photographer Pete Souza, this book offers insight into what these paintings can tell us about the history of portraiture and American culture. The volume also features a transcript of the unveiling ceremony, which includes moving remarks by the Obamas and the artists. A reversible dust jacket allows readers to choose which portrait to display on the front cover.

An inspiring history of the creation and impact of the Obama portraits, this fascinating book speaks to the power of art—especially portraiture—to bring people together and promote cultural change.

Published in association with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

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White House photographer’s book a powerful portrait of Obama’s presidency

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-12-26 02:02Z by Steven

White House photographer’s book a powerful portrait of Obama’s presidency

The New Orleans Times-Picayune

Sheila Stroup, The Times-Picayune

When 5-year-old Jacob Philadelphia wonders if his hair is like Barack Obama’s, the president offers him an opportunity to judge for himself. (Photo by Pete Souza, The White House)

I didn’t mean to read “Obama: An Intimate Portrait.” I was only going to look at a few of the pictures before I wrapped it up for Christmas. I’ve always felt it was cheating to read a book you’re giving as a gift.

I knew I wanted to give the book of photographs to our daughter Shannon and our grandchildren, Cilie and Devery, as soon as I heard Terry Gross interview Pete Souza, President Barack Obama’s Chief Official White House Photographer, on NPR’sFresh Air.” It sounded fascinating, and I wanted them to see that a person with skin the color of theirs could be president of our country.

Shannon adopted Cilie and Devery when they were babies. There was never any doubt they were hers, and nobody could love them more than she does.

Cilie is 8 now, and Devery is almost 6, and I know they must have questions about why their skin is a different color from their mom’s and their grandparents and their other relatives. I know they must get questions from other children.

I’ve never forgotten what happened one day when I took Devery to his swimming lesson a few years ago. There was a young dad there whose skin was the same beautiful tone as his, and he looked at Devery and said, “Oh, he’s going to get questions.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-12-25 20:57Z by Steven

Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs

Little, Brown and Company
352 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780316512572

Pete Souza

Foreword by: Barack Obama

Relive the extraordinary Presidency of Barack Obama through White House photographer Pete Souza’s behind-the-scenes images and stories in this #1 New York Times bestseller–with a foreword from the President himself.

During Barack Obama’s two terms, Pete Souza was with the President during more crucial moments than anyone else–and he photographed them all. Souza captured nearly two million photographs of President Obama, in moments highly classified and disarmingly candid.

Obama: An Intimate Portrait reproduces more than 300 of Souza’s most iconic photographs with fine-art print quality in an oversize collectible format. Together they document the most consequential hours of the Presidency–including the historic image of President Obama and his advisors in the Situation Room during the bin Laden mission–alongside unguarded moments with the President’s family, his encounters with children, interactions with world leaders and cultural figures, and more.

Souza’s photographs, with the behind-the-scenes captions and stories that accompany them, communicate the pace and power of our nation’s highest office. They also reveal the spirit of the extraordinary man who became our President. We see President Obama lead our nation through monumental challenges, comfort us in calamity and loss, share in hard-won victories, and set a singular example to “be kind and be useful,” as he would instruct his daughters.

This book puts you in the White House with President Obama, and will be a treasured record of a landmark era in American history.

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Dream Big Dreams: Photographs from Barack Obama’s Inspiring and Historic Presidency (Young Readers)

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-12-25 20:50Z by Steven

Dream Big Dreams: Photographs from Barack Obama’s Inspiring and Historic Presidency (Young Readers)

Little, Brown and Company Young Readers (an imprint of Hachette Book Group)
96 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780316514392
E-Book: ISBN-13: 9780316514118

Pete Souza

From former Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza comes a book for young readers that highlights Barack Obama’s historic presidency and the qualities and actions that make him so beloved.

Pete Souza served as Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama’s full two terms. He was with the President during more crucial moments than anyone else – and he photographed them all, capturing scenes both classified and candid. Throughout his historic presidency, Obama engaged with young people as often as he could, encouraging them to be their best and do their best and to always “dream big dreams.” In this timeless and timely keepsake volume that features over seventy-five full-color photographs, Souza shows the qualities of President Obama that make him both a great leader and an extraordinary man. With behind-the-scenes anecdotes of some iconic photos alongside photos with his family, colleagues, and other world leaders, Souza tells the story of a president who made history and still made time to engage with even the youngest citizens of the country he served. By the author of Obama: An Intimate Portrait, the definitive visual biography of Barack Obama’s presidency, Dream Big Dreams was created especially for young readers and not only provides a beautiful portrait of a president but shows the true spirit of the man.

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Farewell to the chief

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-01-16 01:35Z by Steven

Farewell to the chief

The Times of London

Trevor Phillips

April 22, 2013: the president pauses for a moment of silence in honour of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings

After eight years in the White House, Barack Obama relinquishes the top job this Friday. Trevor Phillips criticises his legacy on race, while the White House photographer Pete Souza shares candid portraits of the outgoing president

Most of the 40,000 graves in New York’s Flushing Cemetery are marked by neat marble headstones, mostly white or grey, occasionally black. A few bear elaborate tombs, but for the most part they display the quiet restraint of immigrants for whom the American dream means exchanging a precarious existence in a developing country for a steady blue-collar job in the world’s greatest metropolis.

These modest memorials also tell the story of the borough where America’s flamboyant president-elect, himself the son of a Scottish immigrant, was born and raised. Queens claims to be the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. The tombstones carry thousands of names charting two centuries of ceaseless migration: English Quakers, German Protestants, Italian and Korean Catholics, African-American and Caribbean Episcopalians. Under a tree close to the cemetery’s southern boundary lies one marked “Marjorie Eileen Phillips”. My mother.

I always make a point of running over the family’s news for her benefit. We sometimes also talk politics. Last time I was there, shortly after the presidential election, we reflected on Obama’s tenure. I was keen to know what the wise matriarch thought the legacy would be of America’s first black president, who steps down this Friday…

Read the entire article here.

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Pete Souza: photographing the real Barack Obama

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-06-01 00:03Z by Steven

Pete Souza: photographing the real Barack Obama

The Guardian

Jonathan Jones

President Barack Obama fist-bumps custodian Lawrence Lipscomb in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Photograph: Pete Souza/The White House

Over two historic terms, official White House photographer Pete Souza has chronicled the most intimate, candid and comical moments of Barack Obama’s presidency

It was a tale of two Americas. In Las Vegas the casinos were humming with a hell-yes tide that was about to sweep the manic Donald Trump to his most pumped-up victory yet. In Washington DC, civilisation still existed. In the week Trump’s xenophobic bid to be the Republican presidential candidate began to look unstoppable, the man whose Americanness he has questioned was meeting 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin. In Pete Souza’s official White House photograph of their get-together, President Barack Obama cracks a delicious smile as the first lady dances with McLaurin, who was invited to visit the White House in recognition of community work she has done for decades in the US capital. The meeting was also a celebration of Black History Month – and Souza’s picture manages to be both intimate and historic. Here are three African Americans in the White House. The room they are in – the Blue Room – is opulently decorated with gold stars, Empire-style furniture, and a portrait of some grand national father who holds a white handkerchief in his white hand…

Nov 2009 – Obama jokes with staff before the Summit of the Americas in Singapore Photograph: Pete Sousa/The White House

…What made Souza such an ideal day-to-day chronicler of Obama’s presidency? The answer is surprising. Before he recorded the White House life of America’s first black president, Souza did the same job for the first Hollywood actor to rule from the Oval Office. From 1983 to 1989, he was Ronald Reagan’s official photographer. Perhaps his most famous picture of that era shows Ronald and Nancy Reagan meeting Michael Jackson, who is wearing a spangly military-style jacket. Reagan looks understandably confused – is this the king of pop or the commander of the Star Wars defence programme?…

Read the entire article here.

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Why I Created #ObamaAndKids

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, United States on 2016-03-03 16:55Z by Steven

Why I Created #ObamaAndKids


Michael Skolnik

(Pete Souza/White House)

THURSDAY, February 18, 2016. The White House. Washington, DC. President Barack Obama was about to enter the room, when I noticed a young boy standing next to me, dressed in a jacket and tie, looking to get to the front of the crowd. This would be the last Black History Month celebration at The White House during the presidency of the first African-American in the history of The United States to hold the highest office in the land. When I asked the young boy if he needed help, he turned to me, and with a smile, he kept it moving, with his mother behind him, he led her around the various adults in his way, ultimately disappearing into the crowd in front.

Historical, this event would become. Not because of any major announcement the President or The First Lady would make from the podium, but because of a photo of that young boy, dressed in a jacket and tie, that would capture the attention of the world. They ultimately got to the front, standing against the rope that separated, by only a few feet, the audience from Barack and Michelle.

When the President finished his speech, he came down to the rope-line to greet the invited guests, and eventually arrived at the feet of the young boy. The President reached out to touch the boy’s face, and the remarkable White House photographer Pete Souza, did what he does best; snapped another iconic photograph of President Obama and a child who innocently knows nothing of the importance of that moment…

Read the entire article here.

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This photo of Obama and a little visitor at a Black History Month celebration is remarkable

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-02-21 23:34Z by Steven

This photo of Obama and a little visitor at a Black History Month celebration is remarkable

The Washington Post

Janell Ross

Clark Reynolds, 3, is greeted by President Obama during a Black History Month Celebration held Feb.18, 2016, at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Pete Souza/White House)

For 3-year-old Clark Reynolds, Thursday began like most others.

Morning preparations gave way to hours at school and then a visit to his mother’s office to change into a suit and tie. Clark’s mother, Nichole Francis Reynolds, is a former congressional staffer who now works in the private sector. Friends had secured an invitation for Francis Reynolds and her son to the White House’s Black History Month celebration, the final gathering of its kind while the first black president remains in office. But Francis Reynolds had told Clark only that he had earned a special treat. He is, after all, only 3.

What Clark does know is the president’s name, his face when he sees Obama on TV and the sound of President Obama’s voice when it comes through the satellite radio in his dad’s car. Then, there’s Clark’s favorite book, the one that he almost always picks when it’s reading time. Clark has been through the “The White House Pop-Up Book” by Chuck Fischer so many times that, almost as soon as Clark and his mother walked onto the White House grounds Thursday, Clark knew where they were…

Read the entire article here.

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The Paradox of the First Black President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Live Events, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2015-10-08 15:58Z by Steven

The Paradox of the First Black President

New York Magazine

Jennifer Senior

President Barack Obama talks with, from left, personal aide Reggie Love, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, and Director of Political Affairs Patrick Gaspard, aboard Marine One during the flight from White House to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Aug. 9, 2010. (Pete Souza)

As the historic administration nears its final year, African-American leaders debate: Did Barack Obama do enough for his own community?

There is a photo by Pete Souza, the White House’s canny and peripatetic photographer, that surfaces from time to time online. The setting is Marine One, and it features a modest cast of five. Valerie Jarrett, dressed in a suit of blazing pink, is staring at her cell phone. Barack Obama, twisted around in his seat, is listening to a conversation between his then–body guy, Reggie Love, and Patrick Gaspard, one of his then–top advisers. Obama’s former deputy press secretary, Bill Burton, is looking on too, with just the mildest hint of a grin on his face.

In many ways, it’s a banal shot — just another photo for the White House Instagram feed, showing the president and his aides busily attending to matters of state. Stare at it a second longer, though, and a subtle distinction comes into focus: Everyone onboard is black. “We joked that it was Soul Plane,” says Burton. “And we’ve often joked about it since — that it was the first time in history only black people were on that helicopter.”

Souza snapped that shot on August 9, 2010, but it didn’t make any prominent appearances in the mainstream press until mid-2012, when it appeared in The New York Times Magazine. The following summer, July 2013, the president had a group of civil-rights leaders come visit him in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, and the optics, as they like to say in politics, were similar: An all-star cast of minorities (African-American and Latino this time) gathered in a historic place to which the barriers to entry were once insuperably high…

…But now, as Obama’s presidency draws to a close, African-American intellectuals and civil-rights leaders have grown increasingly vocal in their discontents. They frame them, for the most part, with love and respect. But current events have broken their hearts and stretched their patience. A proliferation of videos documenting the murders of unarmed black men and women — by the very people charged with their safety — has given rise to a whole movement defined by three words and a hashtag: #BlackLivesMatter.

“That’s one of the fundamental paradoxes of Obama’s presidency — that we have the Black Lives Matter movement under a black president,” says Fredrick Harris, a political scientist at Columbia University. “Your man is in office, and you have this whole movement around criminal-justice reform asserting black people’s humanity?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Pete Souza’s Portrait of a Presidency

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2012-12-20 04:26Z by Steven

Pete Souza’s Portrait of a Presidency

Time LightBox
Time Magazine

Phil Bicker, Senior Photo Editor

Pete Souza/The White House

The long view of history tends to be the judge of a presidency. As President Obama embarks on a second term in the Oval Office, it may still be too early to draw conclusions about his legacy as Commander in Chief. What we do know is that Obama’s first term has been a historic one: the first African American to hold the county’s highest office, Obama and his Administration have battled a recession, passed health care reform and legislation to end the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, formally ended the war in Iraq and brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

Through adversity and triumph, public victories and private setbacks, chief official White House photographer Pete Souza and his team of photographers have relentlessly documented the actions of the President, the First Lady and the Vice President since Obama took office in early 2009.

As the President runs for a second term, LightBox asked Souza to reflect on his time photographing Obama and share an edit of his favorite images that he and his staff made during the President’s first term; the photographs offer a fascinatingly candid insight into the life of the President while painting a portrait of Barack Obama the man, husband and father…

Read the entire article and view the 125 photographs here.

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