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First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time [Kindle Edition]

Arun Chaudhary
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.99
Kindle Price: $8.89
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Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


“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

About the Author

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1383 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0805095721
  • Publisher: Times Books (August 21, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00779MV5E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,135 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read August 21, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not only would i recommend reading this book.. but i would recommend hiring him to train your team on how to create a long lasting video presence! Arun understands how video can help convey a candidate's personality and has mastered the behind-the-scenes footage that we all want to see. While many views have been shared about the Obama Campaign & the Obama Administration... this book is from a guy who was in the bubble and gave us his perspective through the camera lens every day! Its great to learn his reflections on how media consumption is changing in America as well as the stories of how he pushed to make the changes necessary to modernize how the White House would be documented from now on!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I find it extremely refreshing to read a book about both presidential politics and the White House that isn't written with the same partisan, regurgitated formula. The author has a great sense of humor and I truly felt like a fly on the wall while reading about the events highlighted in the book. Definitely recommend this book to your friends and family!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read August 22, 2012
By Kate
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book that really shows how much new media evolved under the Obama campaign, much due to Mr. Chaudhary's role. It is a great read that also shows another side of the presidential campaign that most Americans don't have a chance to see unless they are directly involved in said campaign. Great read... highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Arun has been extraordinarily fortunate. What a telegenic and energetic president to follow by video. Arun has invented a whole new way of covering the American presidency. I hope his archives grow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful review of First Cameraman ... October 17, 2012
By Hock
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
... in which I review Mr. Chaudhary's freshman effort, marvel at him marveling about funny band names, and ultimately award the book five stars!

First Cameraman is an engaging read in which each chapter opens with a quip similar to the above. The purpose is to whet the reader's appetite about the content forthcoming and to key said reader into what are most likely to be the funniest bits in the chapter (even if they are in a footnote).

So what is First Cameraman about? Well, not exactly what I thought it was about. I was looking forward to a series of "Behind the Music" moments about our 44th president. While there were a few of these throughout the text, that really wasn't the purpose of the book. The book is really about the history of film-making as it pertains to a political context. It speaks to what is unique about this challenge and how the present-day technology contributed to the evolution (the maturity, even) of this medium in a White House context. The author is humble but does credit himself (and his instrumental team members) with enacting this change. In fact, there isn't enough early (pre-Obama campaign) biographic information about the author and the reader is left feeling a little cheated out of background context that would have made it easier to identify with his story.

Format-wise, the book contains scores of footnotes, none of which are bibliographic annotations. Rather they are most usually the anecdotes - many quite lengthy - that would be better highlighted in the text itself. I find footnotes distracting from the flow of the story but other readers may enjoy the way the notes provide a means by which to procrastinate from the main text, if only for a few moments. My advice for the sequel - no footnotes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A unique look at behind the scenes of the White House September 24, 2013
By Eric
This is a great, light read, accentuated with a heavy dose of comedy that gives a definitively unique look at the inner workings of the White House and a Presidential campaign. As such, it's a welcome relief from your typical book about the White House or politics in general, because it is written from the perspective of an "every-man" on the outside looking in. An Every-man who just happens to have the best seat in the house (and a sense of humor - probably the only sense of humor in government).

I recommend it, particularly if you have an interest in politics, the White House, or film. It gives you a perspective you won't get from any other book about the White House, or politics.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not great, just mediocre. May 21, 2013
By Kate
Format:Kindle Edition
I'm the type of person more likely to watch a film, than to make one. While interesting, this novel was somewhat boring. Moreover, it's format was hard to follow, with many tangents. The author includes lots of references that seem like inside jokes. A decent read, but not one I'd recommend to spend money on.
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