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The President's Photographer

Grades: 3-13+
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  • Overview

    Each presidential term, a new White House photographer is selected to travel with the president, and take photos daily. They not only serve as a creative entity, but also document events and provide windows into history for future U.S. citizens. This National Geographic program explores the perspective of the visual historians who capture both public and intimate moments in the lives of Presidents. This program follows the President’s photographer inside the Obama White House, aboard Air Force One, backstage at the State of the Union, and into the heart of the West Wing. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday grit of the American presidency and a chance to see what it’s like to cover the most powerful man in the world—for history.
  • A Nation Goes to War

    Eric Draper photographed George W. Bush's eight-year-long presidential term. He accompanied the then-president everywhere and operated as a "fly on the wall," taking photos from the sidelines. Draper documented the historic moments leading up to when President Bush and his administration, with the approval of Congress, declared war on Iraq on March 20, 2003.

    Permitted use: Stream Only

    © 2012

  • Documenting the President

    Cecil Stoughton was one of former president John F. Kennedy's photographers. He was just five cars behind Kennedy on November 22, 1963, the day the president was assassinated during a presidential motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Stoughton took the iconic photo of Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in as president on Air Force One. In the photo, Jackie Kennedy stands next to Johnson, her outfit stained with her late husband's blood.

    Permitted use: Stream Only

    © 2012

  • Window to the White House

    Pete Souza, President Obama's photographer, shoots between 20 and 80 thousand photographs monthly with his three person staff. Photo editor Alice Gabriner works with Souza to chose which photos to upload to the White House's Flickr account. "We're uploading to the web and we're uploading to Flickr, but we're also creating an archive that's a lasting archive for history," Garbiner said. Obama is also the first president to videotape his weekly address.

    Permitted use: Stream Only

    © 2012

National Standards for History
Content Standards

Understand the important role of White House photographers, recognize how they have been used to document some of the most critical times in our history, and explore the process by which presidential photos are screened and disseminated.


  • Source: National Geographic Television's The President's Photographer

    http://www.pbs.org/programs/presidents-photographer/

    Credits
    National Geographic

  • Source: National Geographic Television's The President's Photographer

    http://www.pbs.org/programs/presidents-photographer/

    Credits
    National Geographic

  • Source: National Geographic Television's The President's Photographer

    Credits
    National Geographic

Contributor: National Geographic Education-grayscale


Funder: National Science Foundation-grayscale