October 17, 2012

First Cameraman

this book was so great. it's kind of a memoir by Arun Chaudhary, a filmmaker and Washington outsider who became Barack Obama's campaign videographer, and subsequently the first ever official White House videographer. here he chronicles a tiny bit of his background, how he got on the Obama campaign, how New Media helped clinch the victory, and how his essential role evolved into a brand new position in the White House. (previously all video was done by the military.) he also includes some history on political advertising, some theory on the interplay between politics and art, and some really fascinating, amusing, and/or surreal anecdotes that only come from being at the President's side for over four years. one of my favorites was Pres. Obama filling out his census form- "uh, what phone number should i put down? the White House main switchboard?"

it also goes without saying that Chaudhary is a big fan of Pres. Obama, so be prepared lest that ruffle your feathers. he repeatedly mentions Obama's personal authenticity- "[He] is one of the few people in politics who is the exact same person on and off camera". (he also indulges in a tangent on the word "authenticity" itself- its ever evolving meaning and implications.)

regardless of how you feel about the current administration, it's a great behind-the-scenes look at a highly secure (and sometimes secretive) political community, with lots of valuable history made palatable for the layperson.

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