Even if you don’t know Pete Souza, you’ve surely come across his Instagram account — two million followers and rising! — the inspiration behind his latest photo book, “Shade, A Tale of Two Presidents,” from Little, Brown and Company, which launched last night at the NYC Union Square Barnes & Noble in a conversation/book signing event moderated by Gayle King.
The sold-out venue held a mixed crowd of all ages and ethnicities. VIP star power was slim but D.C.-luminary: John Brennan (photo above), Obama’s former CIA director, made a front row appearance to support his good friend. (Souza mentioned that they had neighboring offices in Obama’s White House.)
Moderator King steered the conversation at a lively, sparkling tempo while frequently referring to specific photos in the book to draw out Souza’s creative process, anecdotes, and ideology. Souza’s demeanor was as accessible and straight-forward as his wardrobe, a dark plaid shirt with denim.
King, in a well-cut emerald green cocktail dress, said that moderating the event was a proud exception to her strict weekday curfew for CBS This Morning, citing a 3AM wake-up call! Fun fact #1: she said her favorite photo was on page 201 — buy the book to find out! Fun fact #2: she gave the book a nice nod in her “The World According to Gayle” November feature in O, the Oprah Magazine November edition!
“Shade” is a follow-up to Souza’s bestselling 2017 photo book, “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” of his unforgettable, iconic portraits of Obama and the first family, which captured the gravity of the presidency and the White House, and the huge responsibility that comes along with it.
Catch Pete “The King of Shade” Souza on his national tour event through mid-December with presentations, signings, and Q&As.
And if you’re in the NYC area, the Steven Kasher Gallery is hosting a low-key solo photo exhibition of prints, “Pete Souza: Throw Shade, Then Vote,” which runs through December 8, 2018.