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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Connecting Continents: Join a Google+ Hangout with First Lady Michelle Obama from South Africa

This week, the First Lady is joining President Obama on an official visit to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. During the trip, Mrs. Obama will meet with young people across the continent and highlight the power of education.

On Saturday, June 29th, the First Lady is hosting a special event that will connect young people in South Africa with young people in the U.S. to discuss the importance of education and our shared future -- and you can be a part of it. Here's how:

During this event, in conjunction with MTV Base, an African youth and music TV channel, and Google+, the First Lady and MTV Base VJ Sizwe Dhlomo will join students in South Africa for a virtual discussion with young people in cities around the U.S., including:

  • Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation that unites girls to change the world, will join from Houston, Texas. In addition to the students joining the hangout, Girl Up is hosting dozens of watch parties around the country.
  • John Legend and students involved in his Show Me Campaign, a global campaign fighting for equal access to quality education, will join from Los Angeles, California.
  • Y Global Teens, a YMCA program that provides underprivileged youth with an international service learning experience, will join from New York City. Through the program, these students will visit the Cape Town YMCA.
  • From Google Fiber Space in Kansas City, participants will join that are part of the KC STEM Alliance to promote and inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and math education

This Google+ Hangout with the First Lady kicks off a series of global virtual field trips on Google+ that will launch in the school year. Stay tuned for opportunities to participate in events with the State Department, Global Nomads Group, a nonprofit organization that facilitates cultural exchanges, and others. Check out the Global Nomads Google+ Community to connect with peers around the world right now and stay engaged.

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