Former President Donald Trump used photos taken by his administration’s White House photographer to publish his own picture book currently selling for up to $230, The New York Times reported.
Originally, photographer Shealah Craighead planned to publish her own book of her own work – as has been the case after the end of every administration since Ronald Reagan left the White House. In what appears to be a first for former presidents, Trump demanded part of Craighead’s book advance in return for promotion, according to the Times.
Then he decided to go ahead with his own project to publish a photo book of Craighead and other White House photographers.
Trump’s 317-page book, published in December and titled “Our Journey Together,” does not include photo credits for any of the images, the Times noted, which would be highly unusual for any book, and in particular for one by a former president.
Instead, at the end of the book, in a general thank you, Trump thanks “all of the phenomenal White House photographers” and lists them by name, including Craighead, even though his photos make up the bulk of the book ( though readers would have to guess which ones).
Craighead has now chosen to abandon its own book plans and has declined to discuss its decision or its relationship with Trump throughout the book’s journey.
Images taken by White House photographers, who are paid, like Trump, with taxpayers’ money, are in the public domain. This means that anyone has the right to use them. But usually, White House photographers publish their own books highlighting their work with the president’s blessing.
Eric Draper, the chief White House photographer during the George W. Bush administration, called Trump’s shady moves a “slap in the face” for Craighead. “I would be disappointed if I were in his shoes,” he told The Times.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich essentially confirmed the details to The Times. He told the newspaper that the former president received a multi-million dollar advance for his book of photos he did not take.
“President Trump has always had an eye for beautiful and engaging curation, which came to life through the pages of his book,” Budowich said in a statement to The Times.
See the full New York Times article here.