Pete on what it means to be a photographer

Former White House Photographer to share his experiences at photo summit

Pete Souza still remembers the day in May when the hunt for terrorist Osama Bin Laden reached the climatic moment.

“While we were in that room for 40 minutes, I shot 102 pictures, and during the day, I shot more than a thousand as a lot of things were going on,” says the former Chief Official White House Photographer. Mr. Souza is in Hyderabad for the three-day PEP Photo Summit and would share his experiences as a photographer on Sunday with the participants of the event.

Reminiscing the day, he gesticulates expansively and says: “I was like holy s**t this is a big moment. There are some days when wild things happen, and you realise you are in the middle of something historic. I think that day we all know what happened. It could have turned out a lot differently, and it would have been the end of his presidency.” Mr. Souza confessed that the ramifications of what was happening played on in his mind during the tense moments.

Asked whether he would like to photograph the Trump presidency, Mr. Souza has an emphatic no. “Why? Because I think he is a vile human being. I think there has to be a certain amount of respect if you want to photograph someone every day during the presidency. I don’t think I can do that. I can photograph him as an outsider, but I can never be his White House photographer,” said Mr. Souza, who has had stints as a photojournalist besides capturing Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

“After the White House stint, I am keeping busy, but a different kind of busy. I am doing many different things, some photography and interviews like this,” said Mr. Souza with a laugh.

It was during Mr. Souza’s time with President Barack Obama that the social media revolution gained traction and he jumped right in by releasing the photographs on a photo sharing site.

“My job was to create the best archive of his presidency. And to hopefully show people how he was not just a president but a person. It was my job to show him as the kind of person he was,” said Mr. Souza.