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First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time


With Arun Chaudhary in person

Followed by book signing

From the early months of the 2008 campaign through the first years of the Obama administration, former NYU professor Arun Chaudhary had a unique perspective on the president of the United States. He was the first person ever to hold the role of official White House videographer. “I’m sort of like President Obama’s wedding videographer,” he explains, “if every day was a wedding with the same groom but a constantly rotating set of hysterical guests.”

Some of the moments Chaudhary captures are small, like the president throwing warm-up pitches deep inside Busch Stadium in St. Louis before the All-Star Game. Some are intensely emotional, as when Obama comforts a grieving teenager whose father has died in a devastating tornado. And some are just plain bizarre, like getting thrown out of the Indian parliament by his belt, or being trapped in a White House bathroom while Obama conducts a YouTube town hall on the other side of the door.

Film and politics have been intertwined ever since the first Edison reels rattled in projection halls a century ago. But with the advent of new technologies and a new public that is hungry for images of their leaders, Chaudhary has been in the right place at the right time to participate in the interplay of film and politics at the very highest level. Chaudhary will talk about his experience, which he chronicles in his new book, First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time, and he will present some unforgettable video clips. The program will be followed by a book signing in the Moving Image Store.

Free with Museum admission.