BARACK OBAMA, THE WHITE HOUSE, 2AM, JAN 21, 2009
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Perhaps Newton’s third law applies to presidential politics as well as the physics of motion. Think of everything you could say about the last incumbent of the Oval Office – urbane, eloquent, liberal, possibly overly cautious – and the opposite applies to his replacement. The truth is, one year on from the US election, Obama’s America already feels like another country. And so the images captured by Pete Souza, the former chief official White House photographer, already feel like ancient history.
“President Obama and I shared a lot of time in each other’s presence,” Souza writes in the introduction to a new collection of his photographs. “It was 10 to 12 hours a day, five days a week (and sometimes six or seven). I photographed every meeting every day, every place he went to … Nearly 1.5 million miles on Air Force One. All 50 states; more than 60 countries. Just shy of 2 million photographs over eight years.”
Those photographs capture President Obama on good days (dancing with his daughter while Prince plays the White House) and bad days (hearing of the Sandy Hook mass shooting was, Obama would later say, the worst day of his presidency).
This picture captures one of the good days. The President in the elevator to his private residence after his inaugural party at the White House