Speaker line-up

This year's speaker line-up included photographers and filmmakers; best in their field. Specialising in everything from social engagement to photography business, long exposure to macro, they shared their expertise with visitors throughout the four days.

Pete Souza


Taking on the role of Chief White House Photographer for Barack Obama, Pete Souza had a goal: To create the best photographic archive of a US President that had ever been made. To achieve that goal, he needed to have President Obama's trust to have access to everything he did. Due to their unique relationship, and Obama's understanding of the value of an historic visual record, Souza had virtually unfettered access to the Oval Office and beyond. And what an archive - almost two million images - all of which now reside in perpetuity at the US National Archives.

Using the incredible images captured during his time with President Obama, Souza's book Obama: An Intimate Portrait debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list and remains one of the biggest-selling photography books of all time. His new book Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents contrasts the Presidencies of Obama and Trump, continuing the political comment of his active twitter account. 

In this session, Souza delves into his award-winning photojournalism career, what it's like to document the inner workings of the most powerful office in the world, and the stories behind some of his most memorable images.


Pete Souza is a freelance photographer in the Washington, D.C. area and Professor Emeritus of Visual Communication at Ohio University. Souza was the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama and the Director of the White House photo office.

His book, "Obama: An Intimate Portrait," was published by Little, Brown & Company on November 7, 2017, and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It is one of the best-selling photography books of all time.

His new book, "Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents," also debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Shade is a portrait in Presidential contrasts, telling the tale of the Obama and Trump administrations through a series of visual juxtapositions. Here, more than one hundred of Souza's unforgettable images of President Obama deliver new power and meaning when framed by the tweets, news headlines, and quotes that defined the first 500 days of the Trump White House.

Previously Souza worked as an Assistant Professor of Photojournalism at Ohio University, the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune based in their Washington bureau, a freelancer for National Geographic and other publications, and Official White House Photographer for President Reagan.
His book, "The Rise of Barack Obama," was published in July 2008 and includes exclusive photographs of the Senator Obama's rise to power. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list for five weeks.

In addition to the national political scene, Souza has covered stories around the world. 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. 

As a freelancer, Souza photographed two stories on assignment for National Geographic Magazine and three photo essays for Life Magazine. His photographs have also been published in many other magazines and newspapers around the world including on the covers of Life, Fortune, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report.

In 1992, Souza produced and published "Unguarded Moments: Behind-the-Scenes Photographs of President Reagan," a coffee-table book based on his 5 1/2 years in the White House. Former Sen. Howard Baker Jr. said in his introduction to the book that Souza recorded "some of the most intimate, honest and humanizing scenes of the presidency I've ever seen." An updated book, "Images of Greatness: An Intimate Look at the Presidency of Ronald Reagan," was published in June 2004 by Triumph Books.   Souza was also the official photographer for the June 2004 funeral of President Reagan.

Souza has won numerous photojournalism 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.

He has lectured many times on his photography including at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Harvard University, Boston University, Ohio University, the University of Kansas, Western Kentucky University, Kansas State University, the Newseum, Facebook, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, Truman Library Institute and Adobe Max. He has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, ABC 20-20, Dateline NBC, Nightline, Charlie Rose, CNN Special Reports, Face The Nation, Fox News Sunday, and the NPR shows Fresh Air, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, 1A and Here and Now.  

Souza has had solo exhibits of his photographs at the Leica Gallery in NYC, Stephen Kasher Gallery in NYC, Kansas State University, Fermilab, the U.S. Naval Academy, the Navy Museum, The Kennedys Museum in Berlin, Cortona, Italy, the University of North Carolina, Boston University, Ohio University and the National Press Club in Washington. His photographs have also been part of group exhibits at the National Archives, Smithsonian Museum of American History, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Newseum,  and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. His traveling exhibit, "Two Presidents: Reagan and Obama," debuts in early February 2019.

Souza is a native of South Dartmouth, Mass.  He graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in public communication from Boston University and received his master's degree in journalism and mass communication from Kansas State University. He and his wife live in Arlington, Virginia.



  • 16 Mar 2019
    13:15 - 14:30

    SOLD OUT: Pete Souza: Behind-the-scenes with President Obama