Photographer Offers ‘Front Row Seat’ to George W. Bush’s Presidency


Have you heard of Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza‘s predecessor? His name is Eric Draper, and he’s a photographer who spent eight years serving as George W. Bush’s White House Photo Director and personal photographer.

Eric Draper's official White House Photographer portrait from 2007

Eric Draper’s official White House Photographer portrait from 2007

Former President Bush presided over eight dramatic years of the United States’ history, starting with 9/11 in the early years through the global economic crisis in 2008.


Like Souza, Draper had an incredible amount of freedom and access when it came to documenting important — and private — events. He was allowed to observe the most important and sensitive meetings, silently documenting things for future generations.


His nearly 1,000,000 photographs shot during Bush’s presidency include meetings with heads of state, moments in which some of Bush’s biggest decisions were made, and intimate personal time with family.


Today, Draper launched a new book that collects some of his best work into a single documentation of his experience as Bush’s photographer. It’s titled Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush, and contains over 100 photos selected from the massive pool of images.


Here’s a short ABC News feature on Draper, in which the photographer talks a little about his new book:

The 240-page book is available through retailers such as Amazon with a price tag of around $30.

You can also find a selection of Draper’s best images over on his website.

Image credits: Photographs by Eric Draper/White House Photo

  • Guest

    I wonder if he shot digital the whole time, or had to make a transition at some point.

    Thought I’m not a fan of our former president, being the official White House Photographer must be an incredibly stressful job. You are basically up and at it every time the president is.

  • Jay Garvens

    “Though I’m not a fan of our former president,” What does that statement have to do with what you say following it? What does not liking someone have to do with a stressful job taking photos of them? Did you want accolades for not liking President Bush? A gold star on your chart? Hooray for you. I just hope that the things you don’t like president Bush for aren’t any of the things that he did, that president Obama has continued to do, and some at even higher levels, and are a fan of him, but not Bush.

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    For both these and the Obama pics I can’t help but notice the even lighting which makes me wonder – is the Oval Office that well lit or are there strobes at work? If so how staged/prepared are these images?

  • Neoracer Xox

    Cant wait to see Obama’s pics, more than half of them will be in Hawaii or a golf course

  • Helk

    Well said.

  • Mansgame

    Right….Bush NEVER took any vacations to his ranch, played golf, or did anything other than be the greatest president the country has ever known. lol. Step away away from the AM talk radio every now and then.

  • Mansgame

    The new guy seems to use a 5D III (and mark ii before that) which has plenty of dynamic range and high ISO capabilities. He leaves the EXIF data in tact too and for shots in the office, I have never seen flash use.

  • corey zwegers

    I think he was trying to imply respect for the photographer regardless of the subject being photographed. He could have been more clear about that. Also, I hope you’re not making assumptions about his view on Obama. There are people in the world who are not black and white about their political parties and dislike both presidents.

  • Dave

    Obama turned the recession around, got Bin Laden and ended a war from the golf course? Why couldn’t Bush do that?

  • Dave

    Some one seem a little tightly wound.

  • Leonardo Abreu

    The guy who destroyed america…

  • Ingemar Smith

    Someone is definitely too tightly wound.

  • Horatio

    “Former President Bush resided over eight dramatic years of the United States’ history…”

    That should be “presided” not “resided”.

  • Joshua Morin

    Dude, relax…

  • Felipe Yang

    I personally like Pete Souza’s work now more, his compositions are impeccable.

  • chphotovideo

    “people in the world who are not black and white about their political parties” haha about bush/obama… get it…

  • Ryan


  • Bill


  • Katie Henderson Hopkins

    what a generic looking Coffee Table.. looks like it might have been made for a trailer..