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Beginning this week, the Communication Studies Department and Journalism Program at Canisius College are co-sponsoring “The American President,” an exhibit of historic photographs by Associated Press photojournalists assigned to cover the Chief Executive. The photos, which depict U.S. presidents from Lincoln to Obama and range from fun (Obama’s throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of a Major League All-Star Game) to frantic (the chaotic scene of an assassination attempt that left President Reagan seriously wounded), will be on display through Nov. 30 on the main floor of the Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library.

A series of special events are scheduled to mark the exhibit’s opening:

  • At 12 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, Derek Gee, the award-winning chief photographer for The Buffalo News, will speak on the life of a photojournalist. Gee, who joined the News in 2000, has published photos in Time, Sports Illustrated, and The New York Times. His photos also appear regularly throughout the world via the Associated Press.
  • At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, Kathy Gaye Shiroki, a curator at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and a lecturer in Art Education Department at Buffalo State College, will lead a discussion exploring the liminal mysteries at the intersection of detail and perception, observation and assumption, fact and essence.
  • At 1 p.m. on Thursday, students in the Canisius Journalism Program will read aloud from stories they’ve written about photos in the exhibit. Enlarged copies of the students’ stories will be displayed on poster board along with the photos.

Since the AP launched its WirePhoto service in 1935, its photographers have followed the president everywhere. Their work has dominated front pages, broadcasts and websites.

AP photographers have won four Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of U.S. presidents.

Submitted by:  Rob Kaiser, assistant professor, communication studies/journalism