As a farewell and a goodbye, as an ode really, let’s take a look back at the First Couple’s best photos over the years. All shot by Pete Souza, the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama, and the Director of the White House photo office. And he has taken more than 2 million incredibly powerful, heartfelt and poignant shots…
The adorable couple celebrated a month ago their 24th wedding anniversary.
Michelle Obama, née Robinson, first met Barack Obama in 1989 when she was a year out of Harvard Law School and was assigned to mentor him. (He was a summer associate and first-year law student at the law firm of Sidley Austin in Chicago.) Because of their professional relationship, Michelle tried to fix him up with her friends, but had no luck. Halfway through the summer, he asked her out, and their first date was dinner and a movie. (They went to see Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing”.) “It was fantastic,” Michelle said in 2004. “He was definitely putting on the charm. . . . It worked. He swept me off my feet.” Her family took a bit more convincing. “We gave it a month, tops,” her brother, Craig Robinson, later recalled. “Not because there was anything wrong with him. He was smart, engaging, handsome, and tall, which is important for a five-foot-eleven woman, but we knew he was going to do something wrong, and then it was going to be too bad for him. She held everybody to the same standard as my father, which was very high.” When the relationship inched past the one-month mark, Michelle arranged the ultimate test. “My father and I had a theory that you can really tell what somebody’s personality is like by playing basketball with him,” Robinson said. “Thankfully, he was fine. Confident without being cocky, selfless without being wimpy, and willing to sublimate his ego for the team. I gave her a good report.”
After a couple years of courting, Barack surprised his then-girlfriend with a date-night dinner out. When it came time for the final course, there was a box on the plate, and inside was an engagement ring—right next to her dessert. “I don’t think I even ate it,” she later said. “I was so shocked.”
As the President’s tenure approaches its end, let’s take a look back at some of the most striking images Souza has shot of this amazing couple over the past eight years.
We’ll definitely miss seeing adorable moments like these on the images shot by Pete Souza, at the White House. We’ll definitely miss that sticking harmony and tranquility, love child of trust and pride. Period.
About Pete Souza:
Previously Souza has worked as an Assistant Professor of Photojournalism at Ohio University, the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune based in their Washington bureau, a freelancer for National Geographic, and as Official White House Photographer for President Reagan.
Souza’s book, “The Rise of Barack Obama,” was published in July 2008 and includes exclusive photographs of the Senator Obama’s rise to power. Souza extensively documented Obama’s first year in the Senate and accompanied Obama to seven countries including Kenya, South Africa and Russia in 2005-2006. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list for five weeks.
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.
As a freelancer, Souza has photographed two stories on assignment for National Geographic Magazine and three photo essays for Life Magazine. His photographs have also been published in many other magazines and newspapers around the world including on the covers of Life, Fortune, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report.
In 1992 Souza produced and published “Unguarded Moments: Behind-the-Scenes Photographs of President Reagan,” a coffee-table book based on his 5 1/2 years in the White House. Former Sen. Howard Baker Jr. said in his introduction to the book that Souza recorded “some of the most intimate, honest and humanizing scenes of the presidency I’ve ever seen.” A updated book, “Images of Greatness: An Intimate Look at the Presidency of Ronald Reagan,” was published in June 2004 by Triumph Books. Souza was also the official photographer for the June 2004 funeral of President Reagan.
Souza published another documentary book entitled, “Plebe Summer at the U.S. Naval Academy”. The book chronicles one company of incoming midshipmen through the six-week indoctrination period of Plebe Summer.
Souza has won numerous photojournalism awards including several times in the prestigious Pictures of the Year annual competition, the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism, and the White House News Photographers Association’s yearly contest.
He has lectured many times on his photography including at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Harvard University, Boston University, Ohio University, the University of Kansas, Western Kentucky University and Kansas State University. He has appeared on the ABC news magazine show 20-20, Dateline NBC, CBS Sunday Morning, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Nightline, Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, CNN Special Reports, Fox News Sunday, Fox Friends and Family, and on National Public Radio.
Souza has had solo exhibits of his photographs at the Leica Gallery in NYC, Kansas State University, Fermilab, the U.S. Naval Academy, the Navy Museum, the University of North Carolina, Boston University, and the National Press Club in Washington. 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 New York City.