‘The Way I See It’ review: Dawn Porter’s documentary filters the presidency through photographer Pete Souza’s lens

Souza served as a photographer in the Reagan White Property right before he was approached about chronicling Obama’s terms — a task with its very own interesting background that he approached, Souza says here, as “a historian with a camera,” continually considering of “mood, emotion, context.”

For Souza, that spanned the gamut of ordeals, from the killing of Osama bin Laden to wrenching moments with households of the young children killed at Sandy Hook, from the exultation bordering the Supreme Court’s homosexual marriage ruling to Obama and his daughters happily actively playing in the snow.

Director Dawn Porter takes these raw visuals — which yielded the guide “Obama: An Personal Portrait” — and wrings an more magic from them by marriage ceremony the even now shots with video of functions, in a way that underscores what the photographer captured, then animates and enhances it. That’s primarily accurate with one thing like his portfolio from Ronald Reagan’s funeral, juxtaposing pics of Nancy Reagan standing more than his coffin with footage of her.

President Barack Obama with Chief White House Photographer Pete Souza in 2016. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Souza’s new-uncovered fame, however, stemmed from an surprising — and to buddies and associates, astonishing — departure as soon as Trump took in excess of, as his rising exasperation prompted him to start contrasting flattering pictures of Obama with steps of the Oval Office’s current inhabitant. Those pictures of Obama, he states, illustrate “how the job as president should really be accomplished.”

Porter augments the interviews with Souza and glimpses of his get the job done with other voices, these kinds of as former United Nations ambassador Samantha Energy, who advise that Souza helped build “a window into the guy that was occupying the business office.”

The documentary will undoubtedly be moving for individuals nostalgic about Obama’s presidency, from his humorously aggressive streak on the basketball court to the heartbreaking pay a visit to to Newtown, as David Wheeler describes the president’s interactions with his grief-stricken household by indicating, “You can find no substitute for empathy. It is a foundational connection between human beings.”

“The Way I See It” consequently straddles an interesting line, wanting again at the final administration by way of Souza’s lens, though drawing a direct line from people photographs — and what he took from his two White Dwelling stints — to his public trolling of Trump, and the sense of outrage that impressed it.

As the title indicates, how viewers answer to that, like all the things else in partisan moments, will certainly be in the eye of the beholder. But basically in phrases of presenting a draft of history by way of his before perform and scalding commentary by way of his much more recent endeavors, Souza’s goal has been correct.

“The Way I See It” premieres in choose theaters on Sept. 18, and will air Oct. 9 on MSNBC.

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