The University of Texas at Austin
  • You must have JavaScript enabled and the Flash 8 plugin installed to view this content.

    Get Adobe Flash Player
    Consult your browser's help file for instructions to enable JavaScript.

    World & Culture

    George W. Bush: Behind the Scenes

    By Marsha Miller
    Published: May 1, 2013

    With the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on May 1, the public is invited to take a closer look inside the life and work of the 43rd president.

    But if you can’t make it to Dallas for a visit, a new book by the University of Texas Press, “Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush,” offers an extraordinary collection of images, many never before published, by former Chief White House Photographer Eric Draper.

    Part of the Focus on American History series with The University of Texas at Austin’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, “Front Row Seat” offers a compelling, behind-the-scenes view of the entire presidency of George W. Bush, from dramatic events to relaxed, intimate moments within the Bush family. (Some of Draper’s images are also part of the News to History: Photojournalism and the Presidency exhibit at the Briscoe Center.)

    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, was his personal White House photographer, Eric Draper. From a collection of nearly 1 million photographs, Draper has selected more than 100 images of the former president that portray both the public figure and the private man.

    Through Draper’s lens, we follow the president through moments of crisis, 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, George and Barbara Bush. We also see Bush at work within his inner circle of trusted advisers, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

    Draper is the longest-serving chief White House photographer and the first to document two full terms. He covered George W. Bush for the entire eight years of his presidency and was 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, Draper 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 The Albuquerque Tribune.

    For more information on the book, please visit the UT Press website.

    Related stories:

    Bush Presidential Center Campus Showcases North Texas Native Plant Communities

    News to History Offers Window into U.S. Presidency

    • Quote 2
      Resim Kursu said on May 21, 2013 at 3:38 p.m.
      Very nice photos. Thanks for sharing them.
    • Quote 2
      EYESWIDEOPENLONGHORN said on May 8, 2013 at 12:48 p.m.
      VERY NICE PICTURES TAKEN. EVERY PRESIDENT GETS A BEAUTIFUL LIBRARY FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH MADE SOME HUMANTARIAN GOOD DEEDS BY SUPPORTING PREVENTION OF THE SPREAD OF AIDS IN AFRICA AND THERE MIGHT OF BEEN A FEW OTHER GOOD DEEDS ALONG THE WAY. BUT THIS IS WHAT A LOT OF AMERICANS BELIEVE ABOUT THE BUSH AND CHANEY ADMINSTRATION DURING THEIR TENURE: BUT FORMER GEORGE BUSH PLACE AMERICA IN A VOLITA STATE POLITICAL AND DEBT WISE. PRESIDENT BUSH DID NOT SECURE OUR BORDERS OF AMERICA, HE CONSIDERED LETTING OTHER COUNTRIES DO SO SECURE OUR PORTS ABD BORDERS, NO OTHER COUNTRY WOULD DO THAT. WHAT WAS HE AND HOMELAND HE WAS GOV. OF TEAXAS AND COULD NOT EVEN SECURE TEXAS BORDER LET ALONE AMERICA BORDERS. SO IMMIGRANTS FLOOD ILLEAGLY IN TO TEXAS AND THE OTHER STATES. THEN HE DID NOT DEPORT ALL THE CRIMINAL BACK TO THEIR COUNTRIES DUE TO POOR FEDERAL HOMELAND SECURITIES AND STATE POLICIES WHICH WERE NOT ALWAYS CARRIES OUT. THEN HIS FRIEND GOV RICK PERRY SERVING 3 TERMS AS GOV OF TEXAS DID NOT SECURE TEXAS BORDERS AND TRIED THE BLAME THE CURRENT US PRESIDENT FOR UNSECURED BOARDERS......GO FIGURE!!! TOO MANY TUNNELS FOR DRUG SMUGGLING AND ILLEAGAL PERSON DRUG FROM MEXICO INTO TEXAS..... THE FEMA DEBACLE FOR KATRINA VICTIMS WAS SEEN ALL OVER THE WORLD. THEY WERE CALL ALIENS AND TREATED LIKE PEPLE OF THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. THE STATE OF AFFAIRS DURNING THE BUSH & CHANEY ADMINSTRATION LEFT AMERICA IN SHAMBLES. THE ELUMINATING COST OF TWO WARS AT THE SAME TIME, BUT YET THE ADMINSTATION STILL CUT PROGRAM NEEDED FOR ITS PEOPLE IN IN AMERICA AND CHANEY INVESTMENT OF BODY BAGS FOR PROFIT FROM DEAD AMERICAN SOLDIERS THEY LIED ABOUT NO RECESSION IN AMERICA AMERICA;S HOUSING MARKET DEBACLE WAS DUE TO KARL ROVE ... HE REALLY SCREW AMERICANS ROYALY NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND WAS A NICE THOUGHT WITH NO PUSH OR REALNESS BEHIND IT .....LOST OF TEACHERS, SCHOOLS CLOSING, HEAD START IN JEOPARDY, DROP OUT RATES SORING. ALLOWING COLLEGS TO JACKUP THE COST OF TUTIONS, LESS GRANT MONIES FOR STUDENT LOANS. USA IN DEBT TO AT LEAST 9 COUNTRIES WE BORROW MONEY FROM AND STILL OWE, FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON HAD AMERICA IN THE BLACK AS FAR AS AMERICA DEBIT BEFORE HE LEFT OFFICE PRESIDENT BUSH & VP CHENEY KNEW IN ADABOUT FANNIE MAY & BANKING ISSUES & BAILOUT NEEDS. HALIBURT FRAUD DUE TO CHANEY MIS USE AND CONTRACT APPORIATIONS FOR WARS AND REBUILDING.
    • Quote 2
      Paco said on May 7, 2013 at 4:37 a.m.
      Haha nice photos. The 7 picture is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing them
    • Quote 2
      Jay Joshi said on May 6, 2013 at 3:51 p.m.
      After 9/11, I bet every single American wanted to go in a war, find terrorists responsible for the attack, and demolish them. After war, American economy was devastated for obvious reasons. I don't understand how we all can blame this on Bush administration, because it was led by the sentimental need of that time. Everyone supported that. When war is complete, you cannot leave the country in a flash. There are some responsibilities after war, that you have to fix them till political stability. If that is not taken care of, the new political scenario would eventually affect/attack America again. Now everyone, except for the families who had to bear the loss of loved ones in the attack, blames Bush. If Bush had not taken care of that, Al Qaeda would have been so darn strong by now, and there could have been even more devastating attacks on America, and again people would have eventually blamed him for the attacks. About Iraq, if he hadn't attacked on Iraq, countries like Syria would not have stopped their nuclear program. If that had not happened, we would have to be dealing with dozens of 'North Korea' right now.
    • Quote 2
      Vidhu Shekhar Chaturvedi said on May 6, 2013 at 8:40 a.m.
      "President Bush is smarter than you" - an article by a man who headed the team that 'educated' him during his tenure. Eye opener. I feel he was gossly under estimated and sometimes was misunderstood.
    • Quote 2
      Scooter Helmets said on May 4, 2013 at 8:32 p.m.
      I'd definitely like to get the book, it gives the world a chance to see the president in ways we've never seen before. He was a great man indeed and America did flourish during his term in a lot of aspects.
    • Quote 2
      John Monos said on May 4, 2013 at 7:48 p.m.
      Wow, really interesting photos. I've never seen them before. Thank you for sharing them.
    • Quote 2
      Jason said on May 3, 2013 at 12:48 a.m.
      Regardless of what people have to say about him, you can't deny that he did a lot during his tenure! He deserved that library and I really think that whole game in the new George W. Bush library that puts you in his decision making shoes is a very enlightening experience. I can not wait to go check it out. I think people will appreciate him and the library much more once they go visit. Also if you watch any of his latest interviews you can see that he is a down to earth man who enjoys a laugh too! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHlTUlhEUX8 God Bless his soul and I hope the world can start seeing him in a better light.
    • Quote 2
      Maria said on May 2, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.
      Looking at these pictures reminds me that I have not fully dealt with those dark years of war, government overreach and recession. Bad memories, whatever I may think of the former President.
    • Quote 2
      Jayce said on May 1, 2013 at 4:45 p.m.
      A great man and a great president. Thank you for posting this article and these photos.
    Share:
    • Digg
    • del.icio.us
    • StumbleUpon
    • Facebook
    • Google Bookmarks
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Print
    • email

    Related Topics

    , , , , , , ,

  • Top Slideshows

    • ...
    Reflections on MLK’s “I Have a Dream”
    Reflections on MLK’s “I Have a Dream”
    To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic speech, scholars,...
    The language of photography
    The language of photography
    Explore selections from the Harry Ransom Center's Gernsheim Collection, which features...
    Tracking historical trends in Congress
    Tracking historical trends in Congress
    Political scientists and information technology leaders at the university have developed...
    The spirit of giving is contagious
    The spirit of giving is contagious
    Long-time University of Texas Police Department officer George Glaeser has been giving...
    Study break doodles
    Study break doodles
    During finals week, students blow off steam in fits of both visual and rhetorical...
    Songs of the Season: Experience the sights and sounds
    Songs of the Season: Experience the sights and sounds
    Get in the spirit with this audio slideshow from the traditional holiday sing-along,...
    Student teaches and inspires children in Peru
    Student teaches and inspires children in Peru
    Sophomore Armando Vera used an Undergraduate Studies grant to teach Peruvian children...
    MLK Jr. Day march and festival returns
    MLK Jr. Day march and festival returns
    The 17th Annual MLK March and Festival is on Monday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and...