Will tell the backstory to this and many other photos next Tuesday night as part of the Kennedy Lecture Series at Ohio University in Athens. Free admission. Get there early for a seat! Doors open at 6:30 in Memorial Auditorium. Program begins at 7:30.
In addition to my Saturday Q&A with Michael Shaw about my Obama photographs, a couple of my Big Papi photos from earlier this summer are included in the Players Tribune. Details are at: Photoville.com @playerstribune @photovillenyc @readingthepictures
#repost @readingthepictures ・・・ As most of you know by now, Pete Souza and Reading the Pictures publisher, Michael Shaw, will be discussing Pete’s Obama photographs on Saturday at the famed Photoville festival in Brooklyn. (See link in our bio.) They will focus on 8-10 pictures and, true to our mission, discuss what's happening in each frame. ⠀ ⠀ This is one of the most popular shots Pete Souza made as Obama’s White House photographer. Taken in 2010, it shows Obama putting his toe on a scale as Trip Director Marvin Nicholson tries to weigh himself during a hold in a volleyball locker room at UT Austin. Yes, it’s totally funny. But Pete doesn’t just do one liners, and there are a couple things to appreciate here. First, there’s the president’s sense of humor, which Pete documented well and often. Humor accomplishes a lot of things: it relieves pressure; it’s motivating. It’s also great how the photo acts out a famous idiom, known as “putting one’s thumb on the scale.” It’s about the ability to tilt the balance of a situation. In a larger sense, it speaks to Obama as a competitor (it’s a locker room, no?), and as someone you dare not underestimate. How else would the healthcare act have gotten passed, and after the Republicans ran the table in November, actually manage to survive and grow in stature? And there’s one more totally distinctive “Pete move” here. If you’ve studied thousands of White House photos like we have, you would know Pete loves using mirrors to add depth and interest. What’s totally rare about “the Nicholson scale,” perhaps unprecedented, is how Pete uses three of them.⠀ ⠀ (If you’re coming to the event, by the way, please get there early. There are 100 tickets that will be given out, "first come, first served." Otherwise, enjoy one of the best photo festivals and some of the most committed photography in the country.)⠀ ⠀ Photo: @PeteSouza @photovillenyc #obama#presidency#humor#scales
This was probably several days after 9/11. By then, access to the site of the World Trade Center attacks had been closed to working news photographers like me. I hung around the access point anyway for awhile one afternoon and had my eye on a group of firefighters as they exited the site. Apparently they had been looking for survivors all day. I noticed the one firefighter carrying something in his hand and when he got closer to me he held up an American flag that he had found in the rubble.