First Cameraman

Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time

Arun Chaudhary

Times Books

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The first official White House videographer chronicles his time capturing behind-the-scenes moments of the president and his administration

From the early months of the 2008 campaign and through the first two and a half years of the Obama administration, Arun Chaudhary had a unique perspective on the president of the United States. "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 had 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. His entertaining and eye-opening book—which includes stories and images of key players such as Barack and Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton, among others—gives readers a unique view of their government and their president in these historic and challenging times.

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Book Excerpts

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Introduction
The Fine American Art of Saying Hello
Barack Obama didn’t think about it too long before shaking his head. “No, I don’t want to do that,” he said.
I was a little surprised. It was October 21, 2008, and by that point we’d done a lot together. We’d visited hundreds of diners, state fairs, parades, and high school gymnasia, and let’s not forget the factories. Together we’d inhaled the fumes of a thousand factories. (Traveling press secretary Jen Psaki always said that she, the president, Reggie Love, and I were all destined to die

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Arun Chaudhary on CNN's Early Start

The first official White House video-grapher, Arun Chaudhary shares some advice he received from President Obama.

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Arun Chaudhary on Current TV

Arun Chaudhary discusses First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time, on Current TV.

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Arun Chaudhary on PBS Newshour

Arun Chaudhary discusses First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time on PBS Newshour at the Democratic National Convention.

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Arun Chaudhary on MSNBC's Weekend with Alex Witt

Arun Chaudhary discusses First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time on MSNBC's Weekend with Alex Witt

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Arun Chaudhary on MSNBC's Morning Joe

Arun Chaudhary discusses First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

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Arun Chaudhary Political Punch with Jake Tapper

Arun Chaudhary speaks with Jake Tapper about his new book, First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time, with Jake Tapper on Political Punch.

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Arun Chaudhary on NPR's Weekend Edition

Arun Chaudhary discusses First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time on NPR's Weekend Edition.

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Arun Chaudhary on The Leonard Lopate Show

Arun Chaudhary discusses First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time on The Leonard Lopate Show

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Arun Chaudhary on Writing First Cameraman

Arun Chaudhary discusses First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time

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Reviews

Praise for First Cameraman

“Arun was New Media? I always assumed he was CIA!”
—David Axelrod, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama and Senior Strategist, Obama for America
 
“With grace and good humor, Chaudhary weaves together his recollections of the Obama campaign and the White House with the theory and history of film in American politics. But you might not realize how much you’re learning, because you’re having too much fun.”
—Richard Ben Cramer, author of What It Takes and Joe DiMaggio
 
“So interesting to finally learn what whatshisname’s job actually was, I used to just ask him if he knew where the president went.”
—Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of the City of Chicago and Former White House Chief of Staff
 
First Cameraman tells a refreshing story about American politics—it’s that what you see is what you get. What the camera saw in Barack Obama in 2008 is what the cameraman himself discovered off-camera. Wow!”
—Chris Matthews, Host of Hardball and The Chris Matthews Show and bestselling author of Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero
 
“If John F. Kennedy was the first television president, then Barack Obama is the first YouTube president—and Arun Chaudhary, the first first videographer, captured the images that mark a seismic shift in the way American politics is practiced.”
—Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary and author of Why Women Should Rule the World
 

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About the Author

Arun Chaudhary

Arun Chaudhary served as the first official White House videographer from 2009 to 2011 and was also a key member of Obama's new media team during the 2008 campaign. He previously worked in film in New York and was a member of the NYU Graduate Film Department faculty. He received his MFA in filmmaking from NYU and his BA in film theory from Cornell University. Chaudhary has been profiled by The New York Times, the BBC, National Journal, Politico, Fortune, and many political websites. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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Available Formats and Book Details

First Cameraman
Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time
Arun Chaudhary

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
August 2012
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805095722
ISBN10: 0805095721
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 320 pages, 25-30 b&w photos throughout
$30.00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
September 2013
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250037336
ISBN10: 1250037336
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages, Includes 30 black-and-white photographs
$17.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Times Books
August 2012
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780805095739
ISBN10: 080509573X
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 320 pages, 25-30 b&w photos
$9.99
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