Presidential Photographer Shares Candid Photos of President Obama on Instagram

pete souza instagram photo of air force one

It looks like just about everybody is signing up with Instagram these days. No less than the Chief Official White House Photographer, Pete Souza joined the online photo sharing portal last July 24. Souza’s first uploaded photograph, however, was not of Obama. Instead, he shared a shot that symbolizes the highest office of the land. The debut image was the instantly-recognizable Presidential Seal, accompanied with this caption: “My maiden voyage on Instagram. Will bring you behind-the-scenes of the Presidency.” His follow-up picture was that of unlikely presidential grapes neatly resting on worthy presidential napkins.

pete souza instagram photo of president obama

In an obvious effort to show more of the candid side of the Obama presidency, @petesouza documents the inner sanctums of the White House, and rare perspectives within. These include the intimate staff, a shadow cast by Marine One as it ascends, and Bo, the Presidential dog.  Souza recently spoke with TIME’s international picture editor, Patrick Witty, about his foray into Instagram and what we can anticipate to see, as well as not see on his feed.

pete souza instagram photo of presidential seal

Here are some excerpts from the interview with TIME:

What made you take the plunge and open an Instagram account?

The digital folks here at the White House have been asking me to do this for some time and I thought the time was right to finally take the plunge.

I thought it was really interesting you opened your account with a photo of the Presidential seal, then went directly to a food photograph. It gave me the impression that the Instagram feed would maybe be lighter, more fun perhaps.

When we decided to begin, it was on a day that the President was traveling. So I purposely began with the Presidential seal on Air Force One as a way to introduce this account. The first thing I usually do when I get on-board the plane is grab a couple of grapes. So I guess I was telling viewers with this second photo that this account would also be a bit more fun and personal than the photographs we post to Flickr.

pete souza instagram photo of grapes on napkin with presidential seal

The Instagrams of Bo are excellent – how is he as a subject?

I love Bo especially because we’re both of Portuguese descent. That said, photographing a dog with black hair is certainly a challenge.

pete souza instagram photo of dog bo

Are you going to do any selfies?


Follow Pete Souza via Instagram here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.