We’re Getting a Whole Book of Pete Souza’s Brilliant Trump-Trolling Instagram Shade
It'll be titled, appropriately, "Shade."
While we’d all been familiar with Pete Souza’s work as the White House photographer for the Obama administration, most of us probably didn’t even know his name until Trump took office. Under Obama, he was a silent witness, capturing the beautiful and iconic moments of that presidency. Under Trump, he started strategically using those images to create some powerful juxtapositions between the two men. Souza is a stellar troll, and his criticism is harsh and pointed, using pictures of Obama with captions meant to call out Trump’s embarrassing and often destructive or dangerous behavior.
Now, Souza has announced that all of that Instagram shade is going to be put into a book, appropriately titled SHADE: A Tale of Two Presidents. Souza–who is just coming off the book tour for his last collection of photographs, Obama: An Intimate Portrait–wrote on Instagram, “Like many of you, I have been distressed by the barrage of lies and hateful comments emanating from the current administration on a daily basis. We have a president who clearly does not understand democracy and the rule of law. To him, a critical news story is fake news, and our intelligence agencies are all corrupt. His presidency has become a reality game show, with his primal need to achieve ratings and wins–for himself. He does not respect women, minorities and immigrants.”
I’m thrilled to announce that my new book, “SHADE: A Tale of Two Presidents” will be published in October by Little, Brown. Like many of you, I have been distressed by the barrage of lies and hateful comments emanating from the current administration on a daily basis. We have a president who clearly does not understand democracy and the rule of law. To him, a critical news story is fake news, and our intelligence agencies are all corrupt. His presidency has become a reality game show, with his primal need to achieve ratings and wins–for himself. He does not respect women, minorities and immigrants. I have worked for two presidents in my life–one Republican (Reagan) and one Democrat (Obama). I spent almost every day with President Obama during his two terms, watching how hard he worked on behalf of all Americans. He was–and still is–someone who respected people from all walks of life. He made decisions based on facts. He respected democracy and the rule of law. Unlike his successor, he respected the office of the presidency. Since President Obama left office, I have been posting photographs and captions here that juxtapose his presidency with the current one. I do this not as a partisan hack, but as an American citizen concerned about the future of our democracy because of our current president. My commentary on Instagram has been subtle, sometimes humorous, and certainly more respectful than his commentary on Twitter. Through my photographs and commentary, SHADE will vividly show where we are as a country contrasted with where we were. To read more about the book, click on: bit.ly/souza shade (link also in my profile). We are still working on the cover and I will post that once it is finalized. Stay tuned!
Souza says he doesn’t do his Instagram trolling as a “partisan hack.” He was, after all, also the White House photographer for Ronald Regan. Rather, he says he is just “an American citizen concerned about the future of our democracy because of our current president. My commentary on Instagram has been subtle, sometimes humorous, and certainly more respectful than his commentary on Twitter.”
The book will use “Pete Souza’s unforgettable images of President Obama given new power and meaning when framed by tweets, headlines, quotes, and other material from the first 500 days of the Trump administration.” While one of my favorite things about Souza’s trolling is that Trump is totally absent except in subtext, the news moves so fast and Trump’s despicable words and actions keep piling up, a lot of Souza’s references are sure to have already escaped our memories. So for posterity, those headlines and tweets are necessary to help us remember all the terrible (or just embarrassing) things he’s said and done.
Like that time Trump fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe just 26 hours before his formal retirement, robbing him of his pension.
Or how Trump’s aides reportedly couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights for, like, weeks.
Or when he was asked what he got Melania for her birthday and after an awkward pause, said he got her a nice card.
Or how, after the Parkland school shooting, Trump said he would have “run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon.”
These are all things we’d likely rather forget. But if we have to remember them, I’m glad it will be through the lens of Pete Souza’s expert trolling. “More than a sharp compendium of ‘claps back,'” the official book announcement reads, “this collection of Souza’s indelible photography of a historic time is a touchstone to an era of integrity. Souza’s work reminds us of the highest American values we share, and gives the courage to stand up and speak out for what we believe in.”
You can pre-order Shade here .
(via Pete Souza on Instagram, image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza via Flickr)
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