America’s forty-third president, George W. Bush, presided over eight of the most dramatic years in recent history, from the 9/11 attacks early in his administration to the worldwide economic crisis of 2008. By his side, recording every event from the momentous to the intimate, was his personal White House photographer, Eric Draper. From a collection of nearly one million photographs, Draper has selected more than one hundred images of President Bush that portray both the public figure and the private man.
Front Row Seat presents a compelling, behind-the-scenes view of the presidency of George W. Bush. Through Draper’s lens, we follow Bush through moments of crisis that called for strong leadership, such as 9/11; emotional meetings with troops in war zones, wounded soldiers at home, and Katrina survivors; and happy, relaxed times with his wife Laura, daughters Barbara and Jenna, and parents President George H. W. and Barbara Bush. We also see Bush at work within his inner circle of trusted advisors, including Vice President Richard Cheney, National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Capturing moments that reveal the essence of the man, Front Row Seat is an irreplaceable portrait of George W. Bush.
- Foreword by George W. Bush
- 1. The Beginning
- 2. Life in the Bubble
- 3. Family
- 4. The Western White House
- 5. 9/11
- 6. War President
- 7. To the World
- 8. Sprint to the Finish
- Photographer’s Notes and Captions
By Eric Draper
The longest-serving Chief White House Photographer and the first to document two full terms, Eric Draper covered George W. Bush for the entire eight years of his presidency. He was also named Special Assistant to the President. During his tenure, Draper directed the photographic and archival conversion of the White House Photo Office from film to digital. Prior to joining the White House, he was West Regional Enterprise Photographer for the Associated Press and had also worked as a staff photographer for the Seattle Times, Pasadena Star-News, and Albuquerque Tribune. He is currently a freelance political, corporate, editorial, and wedding photographer.
"Draper’s particular advantage, though, comes with his reportorial pictures. A former Associated Press photographer who covered Bush’s 2000 campaign, Draper has an eye for action… The reportorial pictures are most evocative in the long section on 9/11, when Draper had exclusive access to the president as events unfolded."
—Massimo Calabresi, Time Magazine’s Lightbox
"Placing politics aside may prove harder for some then others, but if given the chance, the book presents a body of work that can’t be found anywhere else. Draper seems comfortable to let others tip the scale one way or another in how the Bush legacy will be remembered. Instead, he presents a man that history is just starting to contextualize and allows for his images to speak for themselves."
—Nathaniel Grann, The Washington Post
“Nothing captures history like great photography. In his role as White House photographer, Eric Draper carried on the great tradition of vividly documenting history as it unfolded before us. Whether covering events like 9/11 or President Bush interacting with AIDS orphans in Africa, Eric’s photos always recorded the moments that mattered.”
“Eric Draper’s Front Row Seat is a personal and poignant look behind the curtain of the George W. Bush presidency. The photographs are evidence of the keen and unrelenting eye of an experienced photojournalist.”
—David Hume Kennerly
“Read this book to become a fly on the wall to history.”
“It’s a combination of photographic prowess on the part of Draper and the subject of his lens which makes such a winning combination: any political studies collection and most photography libraries will want this oversized coffee table style portrait, which is so much more than a capturing of Bush highlights.”