About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "An Evening with Former White House Photographer Pete Souza"

Good evening, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. Whether you are here in the theater or joining us through YouTube, I’m pleased that you can be with us for “An Evening with Former White House Photographer Pete Souza.”

Before we get started, I’d like to tell you about two programs that are coming up here this week.

On Friday, May 11 at noon, acclaimed historian Craig L. Symonds will be here to discuss his latest book, World War II at Sea: A Global History. The book is a narrative of the entire war and all of its belligerents, on all of the world’s oceans and seas between 1939 and 1945.

On Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m., we will present a panel discussion, “Before the Freedom Riders: The Fight to Integrate Glen Echo Amusement Park.” Emmy award–winning filmmaker Ilana Trachtman will present clips from her upcoming film and lead a discussion about the 1960 protests at Glen Echo, which were spearheaded by an interracial group led by black students from Howard University and their Jewish neighbors.

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events online at Archives.gov. Check our website or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

A number of the members of the Foundation’s board are in the audience tonight. Their support and enthusiasm allows us to offer programs such as this as well as exhibits and educational activities that bring National Archives resources to a wider audience. Thank you for all you do on behalf of the National Archives.

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It’s rather unusual to have the actual creator of the historical documents with us to talk about them. In the National Archives, we preserve over 20 million photographic images in our Still Pictures unit here in the DC area and in all the Presidential Libraries across the nation. As Chief Official White House Photographer for 2009 to 2017, Pete Souza has now added a significant portion to that total—nearly 2 million pictures documenting the Obama Presidency.

And Souza’s previous work as a White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan (about 300,000 images) is part of the million and a half pictures preserved at the Reagan Library.

Historians, journalists, and curious citizens rely on the prodigious work of White House photographers who document every waking moment of a President. They allow us access to momentous events of a Presidency and show us the human side of those who hold the highest office in the land.

Having covered two Presidential administrations, Pete Souza has had an extraordinary opportunity to see the inner workings of the White House as the focus of the executive branch and also as a family home.

He has chosen some of these images for his recent book, Obama: An Intimate Portrait, and we look forward to his insights tonight.

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Pete Souza was the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama and the Director of the White House Photo Office. Previously he was an assistant professor of photojournalism at Ohio University, the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune, a freelancer for National Geographic, and an Official White House Photographer for President Reagan. His books include the New York Times bestseller The Rise of Barack Obama, which documents the President's meteoric ascent from his first day in the United States Senate through the 2008 Pennsylvania Presidential primary. Souza is currently a freelance photographer based in Washington, DC, and is a professor emeritus at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Pete Souza.