Former Obama White House photographer is using his voice after 8 years behind the camera

PHOTO: In this file photo, White House photographer Pete Souza makes images of President Barack Obama during a ceremony in observance of the terrorist attacks at the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2013 in Arlington, Va.PlayChip Somodevilla/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Former Obama WH photographer on 'shading Trump'

Former White House photographer Pete Souza is finally stepping out from behind his camera lens.

After eight years in the Oval Office with President Obama, Souza has acclimated to civilian life by silently "throwing shade" on social media and criticizing President Trump's administration.

PHOTO: In this file photo, President Barack Obama is joined by advisor Valerie Jarrett, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, personal aide Joe Paulsen and photographer Pete Souza as they depart the White House, Oct. 7, 2016, in Washington, DC.Getty Images, FILE
In this file photo, President Barack Obama is joined by advisor Valerie Jarrett, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, personal aide Joe Paulsen and photographer Pete Souza as they depart the White House, Oct. 7, 2016, in Washington, DC.

Souza said he first learned the meaning of the popular term "right after" Jan. 20, 2017 -- the day of Trump's inauguration.

"I posted a picture on Instagram of President Obama. My snarky caption just said, 'I kinda like the old curtains better,'" Souza told ABC News' Juju Chang. "And in that first post someone said that I was 'shading Trump.'"


Souza admittedly had to search the term on Google and said he understood "throwing shade" as "a way of making a comment that is not necessarily positive."

Souza has posted hundreds of photos of Obama's White House, often in direct response to tweets from President Trump, on his Instagram feed over the past year.

For example, on the same day Trump announced his controversial travel ban, Souza posted an image of Obama talking to refugees.

Souza also posted an image of Obama and his attorney general in direct contrast to Trump's Twitter rant tearing down his Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

One of Souza's most popular shots was taken on Jan. 19, 2009. Obama had just beaten the late Sen. John McCain in the presidential election.

"It was kind of, I think, a coming together of two adversaries," Souza said, reflecting on the photo that he captioned "respect runs both ways."

In juxtaposing photos of the former president based on Trump's tweets, Souza said his Instagram feed would look very different if the latest election had a different outcome.

"If Mitt Romney or John McCain had been elected president, I would not be doing what I'm doing on Instagram," Souza said on "The View." "I would not be shading them because both of those men would have respected the office of the presidency."

The photographer's latest medium is his new book, "Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents."

PHOTO: Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents by Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza is available on Amazon.Amazon
"Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents" by Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza is available on Amazon.

"I worked for President Reagan for a while and I think he respected the office of the presidency. And I don’t think Trump does," Souza explained.

When asked by "The View" co-host Meghan McCain whether he would ever document this time in the Trump White House, Souza said no.

"There would be a curiosity factor, but I still don't think that under the circumstances I could have done that," he said. "I think I would’ve lasted about 24 hours."

VIDEO: Pete Souza on what it would be like to work for Pres. TrumpPlay
Pete Souza on what it would be like to work for Pres. Trump

Souza, a former journalism professor, is also making strides as an artist. He has an exhibit at the famed Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City.

A photo from Obama's inauguration is included in the exhibit.

"This was ... in response to Trump saying he had the largest crowd in history when, of course, that was not true," he said.

I could not live with myself if I was not using my voice to speak out

After spending eight years with Obama and acting as a fly on the wall in some of the most intimate and respected situations, Souza explained what made him want to come out from behind the lens now.

"I have a voice now because of the position I held at the White House. And I -- I could not live with myself if I was not using my voice to speak out," he said.

PHOTO: In this file photo, President Barack Obama is photographed by White House photographer Pete Souza, as Vice President Joe Biden looks on as parade entrants walk down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington.Gerald Herbert/AP, FILE
In this file photo, President Barack Obama is photographed by White House photographer Pete Souza, as Vice President Joe Biden looks on as parade entrants walk down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington.

Souza said the message of his book is simple.

"If you're unhappy with the situation the way it is, then you have to vote. You have to do your civic duty and vote in order to change the way things are," he said.

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