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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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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Benefits of Medicaid Expansion for All States

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to provide millions of Americans access to affordable healthcare. In return, states receive 100 percent of federal funding to cover those costs for the first three y... Read more »

Weekly Wrap Up: “Peace with Justice”

Watch the West Wing Week here. Indiana Fever: The 2012 WNBA champion Indiana Fever was in Washington, D.C., on Friday to visit the White House. President Obama congratulated the team on their winning season and thanked them for their service to commun... Read more »

2012 WNBA Champion Indiana Fever Visit the White House

President Barack Obama welcomes the WNBA Champion Indiana Fever

President Barack Obama welcomes the WNBA Champion Indiana Fever to the East Room of the White House to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals, June 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Today, President Obama congratulated the Indiana Fever at the White House on their 2012 WNBA championship.

Despite being the underdog team in the finals, the President remarked that the Fever had a “Hoosiers” moment and intensified their game. With their toughness and determination, the Fever managed to defeat the Minnesota Lynx, the 2011 WNBA champions.

“And while our towns have a friendly rivalry going on, I still recognize those Midwestern values when I see them. We saw it in the Indiana Fever, which is, you look out for your teammates. You kept fighting, no matter what gets thrown at you. As Coach Dunn put it: ‘We're all blue collar. We work hard on defense. We rebound. We're tough.’”

President Obama also thanked the women for giving back to communities not only in Indiana, but across the country. He acknowledged Tamika Catchings, the MVP of the team, who started her own foundation, Catch the Stars. The foundation works with First Lady Michelle Obama’s program, Let’s Move! and urges children to stay healthy and active. Tamika isn’t the only player giving back to the country though.

“Players on the Fever have received a combined 13 WNBA Community Assist Awards for countless hours they spend volunteering," he said. "They visit local school kids as part of the Read to Achieve Program. They’ve teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for folks in Indianapolis. And right after this, they’re going to run a basketball clinic on the South Lawn for young people here in D.C.”

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Weekly Wrap Up: “We Stand Together”

Watch the West Wing Week here. Middle East Trip: On Wednesday, President Obama embarked on a five day journey to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. The President began his visit with an arrival ceremony at the Ben Gurion airport followed by a visit to... Read more »

President Obama Pushes for Nonproliferation

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction symposium held at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2012. Joing the President on stage are, from left: Defense... Read more »