Former Obama White House photographer Pete Souza has revealed the cover of his new book -- and it's all about throwing shade

By Sam Gillette
July 11, 2018 12:12 PM
Products in this story are independently selected and featured editorially. If you make a purchase using these links we may earn commission.

Pete Souza — the former Obama White House photographer who has gained Instagram fame for his subtle digs at President Trump — originally didn’t know what the term “throwing shade” meant. Now he not only understands the expression, but on Wednesday he revealed that the words inspired the cover for his upcoming book, SHADE: A Tale of Two Presidents.

“If [my first book] OBAMA: An Intimate Portrait is a coffee table book, then SHADE is an every table book,” the 63-year-old wrote in an Instagram post revealing the book cover, which features a photo of President Barack Obama wearing red, white and blue shades. “If you’ve been following my Instagram feed since the last inauguration, then you have an idea what this book is about (but of course there will be some surprises).”

Barack Obama on the cover of Pete Souza’s new book, SHADE: A Tale of Two Presidents
| Credit: Amazon

Souza shot almost two million photos while serving as Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama, and used a selection of these photographs in his first book. Since then, his Instagram posts have gone viral for subtly berating the current administration. In each post, he slyly juxtaposes a news story about Trump with a photo from Obama’s time as president.

For the Fourth of July, the author posted a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama leaning into each other as they watched fireworks.

“Happy Fourth of July. Back when…well, you know what I mean,” Souza wrote.

In the wake of the child migrant crisis, Souza posted a throwback photo of Barack and Michelle Obama on June 24, captioning it: “This is called compassion. Some have it, some don’t. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pray with a group staging a public hunger strike on the National Mall, seeking to pressure Congress into passing an immigration bill in 2013.”

The reaction from Souza’s nearly two million Instagram followers has been so positive that he decided to create SHADE, which will publish on Oct. 16. The new book will include more than 100 photos that didn’t appear in OBAMA, according to the book’s press release. SHADE will give new meaning to the images from Obama’s presidency by juxtaposing them with tweets, headlines, and statements from President Trump and his administration.

“During the past year, I have been as distressed as anyone by the lies and hate emanating from the current administration,” the photographer said, per the release. “I began to use my personal Instagram account to throw shade at what was happening in the White House.”

He added, “Since then, I’ve been inspired by the comments I’ve received from many people who have posted on Instagram, sent me emails, or talked to me at my speaking events around the country. Many have suggested that I package my photographs and commentary into a book.”

For Souza, his upcoming book is not only a form of protest, but a reminder to his readers to be engaged citizens.

On June 27, as the news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement sparked concerns that the Supreme Court could roll back abortion rights, Souza posted a photo of President Obama shaking the hand of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whom he nominated in 2009.

“(Another reason) why elections matter,” Souza wrote.

SHADE hits book stores on Oct. 16.