White House Photographer Talks About Enduring Images From Kennedy To Bush 43

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Eric Draper spent eight years following and photographing the leader of the free world.  He was the Chief White House Photographer during both terms of George W. Bush.

“From the very first day, it was an amazing experience,” Draper said Wednesday night in Metairie.  “The 43rd president walking through the Oval Office door for the first time, and that was my first time in the Oval Office.”

Draper has a new book out called Front Row Seat.  It’s full of photos from his time in the White House, and he says former president Bush also likes the book.

“I could have put together 10 books with the amount of photos I had.  He has it siting on the shelf in his office in the library, so I think he’s proud of it.”

Draper was in Metairie Wednesday night to sign copies of his book at Country Day. 

50 years ago this month, President Kennedy was killed in Dallas.  The only person ever tried in the case was New Orleanian Clay Shaw.  After a lengthy trial, Shaw was quickly acquitted by a jury in 1968.

To this day, images of the Kennedy administration, and a time often referred to as Camelot, are still held dear in the hearts and minds of many Americans.  Draper says that has a lot to do with the man who was photographed.

“He was very photogenic. A very interesting complex person,” Draper said.

While Kennedy had a team of photographers following him, the position of Chief White House Photographer wasn’t created until the Johnson administration.