Over the past four years, photographer Pete Souza’s social media posts have inspired media outlets like Politico to dub him the “King Of Instagram Shade.” As the Chief Official White House Photographer for Barack Obama, Souza’s photos of the life and work of the former president stand in stark contrast to what we’re dealing with today, and that’s precisely the point. “I can understand why people say it’s political, but really, it’s citizenry!,” says Souza, whose life, career (he also worked for the Reagan administration), and his fruitful Instagram hobby are the focus of Dawn Porter’s new documentary, The Way I See It, which hopes to remind audiences what it means to be “presidential” through the lens of someone who’s had unprecedented access to the country’s highest office. Among the film’s producers is celebrated actor Laura Dern, who recognizes the importance of its message, especially in the face of the crucial election year: “We have an opportunity to protect what we want leadership to look like.” Ahead of The Way I See It’s television premiere, The A.V. Club had the opportunity to Zoom chat with Souza and Dern to discuss the documentary’s timeliness and the power of social media. And, speaking of social media, we couldn’t resist asking the pair about the recently viral Laura Dern Sitting Challenge on TikTok, of which Dern reveals, “I have not seen it, but I do hope Pete does it, whatever it is!”
The Way I See It—which opened in select theaters last month—makes its television premiere Friday, October 16 on MSNBC at 10 pm ET.
Image credit: Graphic: Rebecca Fassola, Photo: Laura Dern (Roy Rochlin/WireImage), Pete Souza (Jörg Carstensen/Picture Alliance via Getty Images).