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First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 21, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805095721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805095722
  • ASIN: B00C022BD0
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,848,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles Goudiss on August 21, 2012
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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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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... 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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Format: Hardcover
I like this book. It's entertaining and easy to read. I never understood the logic and thought behind any campaign's use of media beyond changing the channel when a political ad came on. I'm not a film student...just a regular citizen and I enjoyed learning some of the theory of film making and also about the advances in media and how politics incorporated these changes. The only drawback of the book is that you want to learn more about the author since it seems half autobiographical and half historical but obivously for the sake of his own privacy, the author draws the curtain to focus the attention on job of documenterian. I was surprised to learn that the White House did not already have a video documentarian on staff. It makes sense to me on the why. I would recommend this book to others.
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Format: Hardcover
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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I loved this book, a behind the scene documentation of the President's life as seen through the cameraman. His personal experiences becoming that camera and learning experiences along the way made for fun and interesting reading. Facts, comments etc. of all the people in the book, give you an insight to human nature. It was an easy book to read.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was disappointing to me, but I suspect that was because it didn't fit my preconceived notions of what it was about?

My Mother always used to say, "Me, Me, Me is Boring, boring boring." Now this book is obviously by and about Arun Chaudhary the first official "First Cameraman." Obama soon nicknamed the young videographer "Funny Man."

This book failed to provide the expected insights into the real Obama by a young man who had incredible access to the President. There is a photo on page 242 of the author standing behind the official White House still photographer Pete Souza who is taking photographs of the President. That picture was interesting to this reviewer because I'd recently reviewed Pete Souza's coffee table book "The Rise of Barack Obama." Frankly it did a much better job providing insights into the real Obama, who was only a freshman Senator at the time Souza was doing the photographic coverage making up that excellent collection of photographs. (Please feel free to read that Amazon review as well.)

"'Arun," I got used to hearing, "you have the best job in the world, you lucky SOB!" And I humbly acknowledged that official White House videographer--the first in history, thank you very much! --was definitely one of the top half-dozen jobs in Washington? Let's call it the third best at the White House. (Trip director Marvin Nicholson gets the number one slot, and chief official White House Photographer Pete Souza runs a close second.)'"

The book's 307 pages are divided into three major parts containing 18 chapters plus an introduction and conclusion, notes and an index. Part I `MIRACLE WHIP AND OTHER SURPRISES has chapters with titles such as "Where Are the $@#'n Balloons?
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