China through the Lens of the White House Photographer

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When dealing with official state visits, things come in pairs. The leaders hold joint press conferences. The limousines in the motorcades fly the flags of both nations on the hood. The staff sit in equal numbers at the table, each opposite his or her equivalent in the other country's delegation. Even the official photographers are paired together. Where one is allowed to go, the other will expect to follow.

For Pete Souza, director of the White House Photo Office (and my boss), it is a matter of professional courtesy and collegial camaraderie.

In this update Pete tells us some of the other trials and tribulations of shooting on the road. And he has one more surprising pair: though this is President Obama's first trip to China, it is Pete's second state visit. He was here as one of President Reagan's official photographers in 1984 and shared with us some of the differences he has noticed over the decades in this vibrant city.

He also shared some of the lens lengths he uses but don't be fooled, it takes more than a certain type of lens to capture a great photo.

Here are some pictures from the trip so far:

 

President's China Visit 1

President Barack Obama, right, watches the entertainment with President Hu Jintao at a formal state dinner at Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on Nov. 17, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

President's China Visit 2

President Barack Obama shakes hands with the entertainers at a state dinner with President Hu Jintao at Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on Nov. 17, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

President's China Visit 3

President Barack Obama is escorted by officials as he tours the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Nov. 17, 2009. November 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

President's China visit 4

Chinese honor guards prepare for President Barack Obama's arrival at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Nov. 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson) November 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

 

President's China visit 5

President Barack Obama meets with Shanghai Communist Party chief Yu Zhengsheng at the Xijiao State Guest House in Shanghai, Nov. 16, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

President's China visit 6

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jokes with President Barack Obama about their headphones for translation after a bilateral meeting with President Medvedev of Russia in Singapore on Nov. 15, 2009. President Obama's headphones for translation weren't working properly and he had just received a new headset. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

President's China visit 7

President Barack Obama greets children of U.S. embassy workers in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 14, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) November 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Arun Chaudhary is the official White House videographer

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