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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President Obama Nominates New Military Leadership: Generals Joe Dunford and Paul Selva

President Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. as the nominee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. Paul J. Selva, far right, as the nominee for Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in th... Read more »

The Press Secretary’s Statement on Troop Levels in Iraq

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released the following statement about U.S. Military personnel in Iraq.

Today, the President authorized the Department of Defense to fulfill a Department of State request for approximately 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, Iraq. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President's commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These additional forces will not serve in a combat role.

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President Obama Provides an Update on the Latest in Iraq and Ferguson, Missouri

Watch on YouTube This afternoon at the White House, President Obama delivered a statement on the latest developments in Iraq and in Ferguson, Missouri — two issues he has been following closely each day. First, the President relayed to the natio... Read more »

President Obama Makes a Statement on the Crisis in Iraq

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Tonight, in a statement addressing the current crisis in Iraq, President Obama announced that he authorized two operations in the country -- "targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death."

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President Obama Thanks Troops and Military Families at Camp Pendleton

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to troops during a rally at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to troops during a rally at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 7, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama traveled to Camp Pendleton today to visit with troops and their families and thank them for their extraordinary service to our nation.

“I’m here because, for more than a decade, you -— and all our men and women in uniform -— have borne the burden in this time of war,” President Obama said.

After our nation was attacked, you were some of the very first conventional forces in Afghanistan -— racing in, hundreds of miles by helicopter, toppling that regime and driving al Qaeda from its camps. Then when the fight shifted to Iraq, you were there -— racing toward Baghdad and deposing a dictator. And through years of combat -— in Tikrit, Fallujah and Ramadi -— your courage added to the glories of the Marines’ long and illustrious history.

President Obama also called on Congress to agree on a responsible plan that reduces our deficits but also keeps our military strong, which includes caring for wounded warriors, military families, and service members who transition to civilian life.

“That’s what you deserve,” President Obama said. “That’s what your families deserve. That's what I’m fighting for and that is my commitment to you.”

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Promises Kept: Ending the Iraq War and Supporting Our Service Members, Military Families and Veterans

Ed. note: Click here to see the timeline of President Obama's promise to end the war in Iraq and support service members as they return home.

Ten years ago my US Army unit was returning from our final training exercise in preparation for deploying in support of Operation Iraq Freedom. We listened intensely as President Bush announced the start of the war 10 years ago today, and my platoon prepared to deploy as part of the 1st Armored Division into the breach of battle.  Within a few short weeks, my soldiers and I were rolling across the Kuwaiti border on our way to Baghdad to relieve the 3rd Infantry Division.

My soldiers and I spent most of the next 15 months based out of a Forward Operating Base on the banks of the Tigris River trying to bring stability to a chaotic and complex situation. We had a front row seat as the Iraqi’s celebrated the capture of Saddam Hussein, but also felt the war turn as we went from eating dinners in the homes of everyday Iraqi’s to fighting insurgents on the streets in places like Najaf.

Although there is still much to learn about this war, one thing is certain; President Obama’s commitment and focus on taking care of our service members brought this war to an end. He held to his promise and ensured that by December of 2011, “the last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq—with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.”

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The Posse Foundation Selects First Cohort of Veterans for College Success Program

Battle buddies aren’t just for the Army. For the past quarter century, The Posse Foundation has been identifying talented students from large urban public school systems and sending them in teams (Posses) to some of the top colleges and universit... Read more »