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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The Prospects of Reform in Sudan

This editorial was originally published on The Huffington Post Blog, by Daniel Wagner, CEO of Country Risk Solutions (CRS) and author of the book “Managing Country Risk,” and John Bugnacki, an Adjunct Fellow with the American Security Project (ASP) and a research analyst with CRS. The Prospects of Reform in Sudan In spite of declarations to pursue […]

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West Wing Week: 05/08/2015 or, “Viva Los Estados Unidos!”

This week, the President visited Lehman College in New York City for the launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, taped an episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, hosted a Cinco de Mayo celebration, announced his nominee for the new Cha... Read more »

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Water security is a key issue for the world. It is the most basic form of security that a state requires, for without water there can be no state.

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What We Are Reading … August 18, 2014

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan Set For Three-Way Talks on Controversial Nile Talks  Nigel Wilson / International Business Times Sudan is set to host three-way talks with Egypt and Ethiopia over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, according to Egyptian state news agency MENA.   Ukraine, Rebels Accuse Each Other of Attacking Refugee Bus Convoy Richard Balmforth and Stephen Brown / […]

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Hidden History: America’s Secret Drone War in Africa

More secret bases. More frequent and deadly robotic attacks. Some six years after a Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flew the type's first mission over lawless Somalia, the shadowy American-led drone campaign in the Horn of Africa continues to escalate. But thanks to media accounts, indirect official statements, fragmentary crash reports and one complaint by a U.N. monitoring group, we can finally begin to define -- however vaguely -- the scope and scale of the secret African drone war. Read more »