LONDON - Photographer Pete Souza's intimate images from behind the scenes of the Obama presidency have attracted over 800,000 followers to his Instagram account in a short space of time.
But followers suspect there may be another reason for the account's popularity since it was set up on Jan 21 (2017) by the former chief photographer for Barack Obama: It appears to be trolling new US President Donald Trump.
The snaps he has selected for his personal @petesouza account, and the moments at which he has chosen to post them, have been interpreted by observant Instagrammers as throwing subtle shade at the new President, according to a report in Britain's Guardian.
For instance, late last month, after Trump signed an executive order banning entry to the US from seven majority-Muslim countries, Souza shared an image of Obama talking to a Muslim refugee in Kuala Lumpur:
When Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court, Souza reposted a photo of Obama with his pick, Merrick Garland, who Republicans refused to consider for the role last year (2016):
The same day, as reports emerged that Trump told Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto over the telephone about sending troops south of the border to take care of “bad hombres”, Souza shared a photo of Obama and Peña Nieto enjoying a tequila, said the Guardian:
After Trump’s acrimonious phone call with Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, was reported as evidence of the deteriorating alliance between the two countries, Souza shared a photograph of Obama conversing with Turnbull at the Asean gala dinner in Laos last September:
And after a report by the New York Times of meetings being conducted in the dark because White House aides were unable to find the light switches, Souza shared a photo of Obama conducting a meeting beneath at least five light sources:
More generally, Souza has highlighted the paucity of women in Trump’s Cabinet, the Guardian reports:
Souza lists his occupation in his Instagram bio as “TBD” – to be decided.
He expands on his website that he “is currently a ‘free agent’, hoping that the Boston Red Sox need a utility player in the coming season”.
His previous Instagram posts as chief photographer have been archived to the @petesouza44 account, maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration along with all other digital records of Obama’s time in office.