Flickr sent out a message to followers of the White House account today that says, more or less, “Say a fond farewell to Pete Souza.” The account that Souza used to chronicle 8 years of the Obama Administration is changing hands. Starting today, the Trump Administration takes over.
Fortunately for Souza fans, 8 years worth of photography is not going to simply disappear into the ether. Those images—the whole account, in fact—has been moved to the Flickr username ObamaWhiteHouse. As of today, users who were following the WhiteHouse account still are, but they are also following ObamaWhiteHouse.
Here’s the email Flickr sent to users notifying them of the change:
You’re receiving this message because you currently follow the White House account on Flickr, which hosted photographs from the Obama Administration. These photos and this account will be updated and live on as the official National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) with the Flickr username ‘ObamaWhiteHouse’, managed by https://www.archives.gov.
Starting today the incoming Trump Administration will take ownership of the official ‘WhiteHouse’ Flickr account. If you wish to follow both accounts no further action is required. If you wish to unfollow one or both accounts simply go to the link(s) below and click Follow Button to select the ‘Unfollow’.
Flickr’s announcement is made all the more significant by the fact that President-elect Trump has yet to select his own White House Photographer. According to TIME, it’s possible he might not appoint a photographer at all, breaking with a precedent established 40 years ago when Lyndon B. Johnson employed the first full-time civilian White House photographer, Yoichi ‘Oke’ Okamoto.
Okamoto accepted the job on the condition that he have full, unfettered access… and thus a tradition was born.
If and when Trump does appoint a White House photographer, the Flickr account is waiting for him. Currently it’s conspicuously empty, displaying only a default header image, the White House profile photo, and the message “The White House hasn’t made any photos public yet.”