Pete Souza is a best-selling author, speaker and freelance photographer based in Madison, Wisconsin. He is best known for his tenure as the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama. His book, “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list and is one of the best-selling photography books of all time. Souza became known as “the king of shade” during the Trump administration for juxtaposing his Obama photographs on Instagram with the tweets and quotes of the 46th president. His book, “Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents,” also debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list and is one of the best-selling photography books of all time.
Souza has also worked as a freelancer for National Geographic, an Official White House Photographer for President Reagan, the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune, and as an assistant professor at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. Along with his Tribune colleagues, Souza shared in receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for explanatory journalism.
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. Souza has had solo exhibits of his work throughout the country, and he has given presentations of his photography at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Tate Modern in London. Souza has won numerous 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.
Souza became the subject of a documentary film in November 2020, “The Way I See It.” Directed by Dawn Porter and produced by Porter, Laura Dern, Jayme Lemons, and Evan Hayes, the film takes an unprecedented lookbehind the scenes of two of the most iconic Presidents in history–Reagan and Obama–as seen through Souza’s eyes and camera. The film reveals how Souza transformed from a respected White House photographer and photojournalist to a searing commentator on the importance of having someone with dignity and empathy in the office of the Presidency. “The Way I See It” was named Best Documentary by the NewYork Film Critics and was the winner of the Critics’ Choice Award for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary.