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Pete Souza: Throw Shade, Then Vote


On October 11th, just before the midterm elections, the gallery opened the exhibition Pete Souza: Throw Shade, Then Vote. The show is a portrait in Presidential contrasts, telling the tale of the Obama and Trump administrations through a series of visual juxtapositions. Souza’s unforgettable images of President Obama deliver new power and meaning when framed by the tweets, news headlines, and quotes that defined the first 500 days of the Trump White House.

The exhibition features 13 photographs with texts that are portraits in Presidential contrasts. They tell a tale of the Obama and Trump administrations through a series of visual/textual juxtapositions. These works are based on Souza’s renowned Instagram feed, and are being exhibited to launch the publication of Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents (Little Brown, October 16th). With this timely and important body of work, Shade demonstrates the power of photography to galvanize our emotions and encourage us to act.

As Chief Official White House Photographer, Pete Souza spent more time alongside President Barack Obama than almost anyone else. His years photographing the President gave him an intimate behind-the-scenes view of the unique gravity of the Office of the Presidency–and the tremendous responsibility that comes with it. Souza’s photographs are a rejoinder to the chaos, abuses of power, and destructive policies that now define our nation’s highest office. They are a reminder of a man and a President we could believe in, a courageous defender of the highest American values.

When Pete Souza left the White House in 2017, he didn’t know what it meant to “throw shade”—but he started doing it almost immediately on his personal Instagram account, posting his photographs from the Obama years with captions that vividly define the contrast between the Obama White House and President Trump’s administration. Media organizations took notice of Souza’s posts. New York magazine called them “a master class in shade,” CNN described them as “a silent, social media, shade-throwing protest told in visuals,” and Politico named Souza “King of Instagram Shade.” Souza calls it telling the truth. His following on Instagram is now close to two million people.


Pete Souza – Throw Shade, Then Vote

October 11 – December 8, 2018

Steven Kasher Gallery

515 West 26th Street

New York, NY 10001



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