Whenever I think 2017 can’t get any more surreal, the anthropomorphic personification of time basically says, “Hold my beer.” If you had told me last year that the former White House photographer to President Obama would be trolling the Trump administration via Instagram, I’d have drawn a salt circle around you to banish you back to the darkest timeline.
And yet, here we are. For those of you not familiar with Pete Souza’s work, he was the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama during his entire tenure in office. It wasn’t Souza’s first stint working for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. as he was also an official White House photographer during the second term of President Reagan. A long tenure like that means Souza has acquired a huge collection of iconic photographs, such as teasing President Obama with a menacing snowman or capturing the President’s faux pas at Chipotle. But much of his work has never be seen before. In days gone by, such photos would’ve been regulated to dusty albums in attics until rediscovered by future historians. But into today’s social media culture, Souza is able to share his portfolio with the world.
He can also use his extensive backlog of Obama-era White House photos to shine a glaring spotlight on the differences between the previous administration and the current one.
The shade is subtle, but the best usually is.
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Remember Alex, the six-year-old boy who wrote President Obama a letter about the Syrian boy photographed in the ambulance. Alex visited the Oval Office with his family the day after the election. "Dear President Obama, Remember the boy who was picked up by the ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to [my home]? Park in the driveway or on the street and we will be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers, and balloons. We will give him a family and he will be our brother. Catherine, my little sister, will be collecting butterflies and fireflies for him. In my school, I have a friend from Syria, Omar, and I will introduce him to Omar. We can all play together. We can invite him to birthday parties and he will teach us another language. We can teach him English too, just like my friend Aoto from Japan. Please tell him that his brother will be Alex who is a very kind boy, just like him. Since he won't bring toys and doesn't have toys Catherine will share her big blue stripy white bunny. And I will share my bike and I will teach him how to ride it. I will teach him additions and subtractions in math. And he [can] smell Catherine's lip gloss penguin which is green. She doesn't let anyone touch it. Thank you very much! I can't wait for you to come! Alex 6 years old "