Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 Countries

Today, President Obama visits Kenya — the 50th country he has visited during his Administration. It’s also my 50th country traveling with the President.

To mark the occasion, as I did when the President visited his 50th state, I chose one photograph from each country that we’ve visited.

Traveling abroad with the President is very different.

Often times, I am at the mercy of the host country for access. Some countries are more accommodating to me than others. I am lucky to have counterpart official photographers in many countries who are extremely helpful to me in this regard. I of course try to return the help to them when they visit the White House with their head of state.

We’re also rarely in any one country for more than a couple of days, which gives us only a partial glimpse of each place. And because of security, the sites we are able to visit are often limited too.

All that said, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to visit the Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the Great Wall in China, Petra in Jordan, and the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). (So I really shouldn’t complain too much.)

I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned — we’ll be adding a photograph from Kenya and additionally, Ethiopia, following his visit next week.

Afghanistan, 2012

Boarding Air Force One at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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My Day One: September 6, 2012

September 6, 2012 was my first day as a citizen of the United States of America. I raised my hand, took the oath of allegiance, and the United States officially became my country that day. At the naturalization ceremony, I received the following lette... Read more »

Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 States

This week, the President will visit South Dakota, marking the 50th state he has visited during his administration (as such, it's also my 50th state with him). To mark the occasion, I chose one photograph from each state that we’ve visited. This was not as easy as I thought it would be. With help from photo editor Phaedra Singelis, I tried to depict a variety of situations. Some are more lighthearted; some are sad, and some are poignant. Some are with the Vice President; some are with the First Lady, and a couple are with the entire family. A selection of photos are centered on policy, and others on politics. Some focus on the President as Commander-in-Chief -- others on his role as consoler for the nation.

I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned -- we’ll be adding a photograph from South Dakota following his visit there on Friday.

Alabama, March 7, 2015. Marching at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Alabama, March 7, 2015. Marching at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Alaska. Nov 12, 2009. Air Force One refueling at Elmendorf Air Force Base. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Alaska. Nov 12, 2009. Air Force One refueling at Elmendorf Air Force Base. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Arizona, Aug. 16, 2009. Viewing the Grand Canyon. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Arizona, Aug. 16, 2009. Viewing the Grand Canyon. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

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The Top @WhiteHouse Tweets from 2014

With 2014 drawing to a close, we thought it'd be a good time to take a look back at the past year on @WhiteHouse.

This year, @WhiteHouse added more than 1.1 million new followers and surpassed 5.57 million overall, while continuing to serve as an important tool for the White House to engage with the American people.

Check out a timeline of some of the top tweets from the year, and be sure to follow @WhiteHouse on Twitter for news and updates from President Obama and his Administration. And don't forget to check back for more Year in Review roundups over the next several days.

Happy New Year! pic.twitter.com/dXoh9AHSka

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 1, 2014

✈ Baby Force One ✈ pic.twitter.com/0e2075cbb2

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 11, 2014

Someone's turning 50 today. Happy birthday, @FLOTUS! pic.twitter.com/msxXl4h17X

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 17, 2014

"It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy." —President Obama #RightToVote

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 29, 2014

"The son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth." —President Obama #OpportunityForAll pic.twitter.com/wI9iDiWL2e

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 29, 2014

Obama to Congress: "Join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a raise." #ActOnTenTen #RaiseTheWage, pic.twitter.com/iYWuA5yaDy

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 29, 2014

Beast mode. #SuperBowlSunday, pic.twitter.com/DvkM6G8QKN

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 2, 2014

RT if you agree: Every student in America deserves access to high-speed internet: http://t.co/0HstOGvh6z #ConnectED, pic.twitter.com/M1GIaCP340

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 4, 2014

Today, President Obama raised the minimum wage to $10.10/hour for federal contract workers. #RaiseTheWage, pic.twitter.com/FtZqcgMgGI

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 12, 2014

Congrats to T.J. Oshie and the U.S. men's hockey team on a huge win! Never stop believing in miracles. #GoTeamUSA -bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 15, 2014

Hey @galifianakisz, thanks for sending so many folks to #GetCoveredNow at http://t.co/5zeR2RQuXe. And good luck with those spider bites. -bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 11, 2014

The House GOP budget: ✄'s vital programs ✄'s taxes for millionaires ↑ taxes for middle-class families #HouseOfCuts pic.twitter.com/QkUbuYAOsN

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 10, 2014

The Westeros Wing. #WHCD pic.twitter.com/wG4KbQ7BLn

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 4, 2014

60 years after Brown v. Board, let's remember that while progress has never come easily, people who love their country can change it. -bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 17, 2014

"I’m here on a single mission & that is to thank you for your extraordinary service." —Obama to troops in Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/FkHRRiIOez

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 26, 2014

"We need to celebrate science fair winners...at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners." —Obama #WHScienceFair pic.twitter.com/i0TU4jFpOh

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 27, 2014

RT to spread the word: President Obama just took a big step to #ActOnClimate and protect our health. pic.twitter.com/qu55I4ihhT

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 2, 2014

Women—not their bosses—should be able to make their own health care decisions → http://t.co/K75k22iO6r #HobbyLobby pic.twitter.com/BKZQQYteJJ

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 1, 2014

Very proud of @USSoccer. We'll win it all sooner than the world thinks. #BelieveIt -bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 1, 2014

It's time for Congress to reauthorize funding to rebuild our roads & bridges: http://t.co/VAevH7GBGF #RebuildAmerica pic.twitter.com/BYaPeRZiTB

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 14, 2014

Instead of acting to help millions of Americans, House Republicans are suing the President today. #DoYourJobHouseGOP pic.twitter.com/vvxzFj43yo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 30, 2014

He made us laugh. He made us cry. He ended up touching every element of the human spirit. #RIPRobinWilliams pic.twitter.com/kbEq7OwPOf

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 12, 2014

"ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents." —President Obama

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 20, 2014

RT if you agree: Women should earn the same pay as men for doing the same work. Period. #WomensEqualityDay pic.twitter.com/C8QvttmthF

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 26, 2014

"13 years after small and hateful minds conspired to break us, America stands tall and America stands proud." —Obama pic.twitter.com/gvXmSsoTFY

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 11, 2014

When #WomenSucceed, we all succeed: http://t.co/GBzcbSV0MN #HeForShe pic.twitter.com/gaCddXtfkm

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 25, 2014

#Ebola is NOT spread through: 1. Casual contact 2. Air 3. Water 4. Food in the U.S. http://t.co/kICO4R7GpX pic.twitter.com/3QkxgUI9Ic

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 15, 2014

Over the past year, the unemployment rate has dropped by as large of an amount as any 12-month period in 30 years. pic.twitter.com/d8MqIqbTAR

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 7, 2014

I'm urging the @FCC to keep the internet open and free. Here's my plan to protect #NetNeutrality for everyone: http://t.co/3y3YLQD6MB –bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 10, 2014

Big news: The U.S. & China just announced new targets to cut carbon pollution → http://t.co/pW5LQYzFRr #ActOnClimate pic.twitter.com/r2JtIKzes3

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 12, 2014

Sharing a koalaty moment in Australia. http://t.co/mbSY0ZQLxD #G20 pic.twitter.com/roeOMwh33h

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 15, 2014

RT if you agree: It's time to fix our broken immigration system → http://t.co/tqb6H23QH5 #ImmigrationAction pic.twitter.com/sxGp6ni0bq

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 21, 2014

"Thanks to Stevie, all of us have been moved to higher ground." —Obama: http://t.co/O025qS2F3O #MedalOfFreedom pic.twitter.com/5eOFLNdFrX

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 30, 2014

This is not a black problem or a white problem, this is an American problem: http://t.co/BwzL009O7K #EricGarner

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 3, 2014

Our businesses have added: 10.9 million jobs over 57 months ✓ 2.6 million so far this year ✓ 314,000 last month ✓ pic.twitter.com/yTmnPF1Znt

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 5, 2014

I just took action to protect one of our greatest national treasures: Alaska's Bristol Bay. http://t.co/hcGH4Dkega -bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 16, 2014

"To the Cuban people, America extends a hand of friendship." —President Obama Watch the full video. #CubaPolicy http://t.co/Qrzp5zODZk

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 17, 2014

Welcome home, Alan Gross. http://t.co/ZeORP4H0jr #CubaPolicy pic.twitter.com/rOeFEY3GQv

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 17, 2014

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