On May 11, 2018 Pete Souza, the personal photographer for Barack Obama spoke at the National Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz. Pete Souza began his photography career working for a locals newspaper in Kansas, which gave him three to four photography assignments a day.
Pete worked with Obama at the time he was a US Senator and had photographed the Obama family during a family trip to Kenya. Pete mentioned that he had a picture of the daughters reaction to a wilderbeast being eaten by a lion during a safari and another of Obama and his daughter Sasha opening the door to Mandela’s former jail cell. Pete obtained a top secret clearance once Obama was elected, so that he could photograph Obama in the situation room and during other military meetings. While the photographer was privy to listen to classified materials, he could not get access to physical classified documents while archiving events. Pete continued to be the photographer for the entire duration of Obama’s Presidency.
Pete mentioned that an act of Congress made it illegal for him to delete any photos that he took of the president. In addition, after 12 years after President Obama’s last day in office, all photos taken of Obama, excluding those Obama chooses not to share of him with family, will be made public.