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 an American Hero

Six years ago — on June 6, 2009 — I photographed Cory Remsburg for the first time.

It was amid a whirlwind day in France for President Obama — and for me. We’d had an event with U.S. embassy personnel in Paris; a flight on Air Force One from Paris to Caen; a state visit with then-President Sarkozy; a picturesque helicopter ride into Normandy; the 65th anniversary of D-Day; a helicopter, then a plane ride back to Paris; and finally a tour with the Obama family at the Cathedral de Notre Dame. The President and First Lady greeted hundreds of people that day, including a small group of Army Rangers in Normandy.

Eight months later, I accompanied the President as he made his regular quarterly trip to visit wounded warriors at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. The 10th patient he visited that day did not at all look familiar to me. The patient, an Army Ranger, had suffered a severe brain injury caused by a roadside explosion in Afghanistan.

His name was Cory Remsburg.

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President Obama Honors the Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons with the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy

This afternoon, President Obama hosted the Air Force Fighting Falcons football team at the White House in honor of their winning the annual Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. In the East Room, President Obama congratulated the Air Force Chief of Staff... 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 White House Names Dr. DJ Patil as the First U.S. Chief Data Scientist

Today, I am excited to welcome Dr. DJ Patil as Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy and Chief Data Scientist here at the White House in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. President Obama has prioritized bringing top technical talen... Read more »

Active Monitoring and the Latest Steps in Our Response to Ebola

President Obama meets with Ebola Coordinator Ron Klain and Officials

President Barack Obama holds a meeting on Ebola with Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain and members of his team coordinating the government’s Ebola response, in the Oval Office. October 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The United States continues to lead a comprehensive effort enhance our preparedness to respond to Ebola here at home, while also tackling the epidemic at its source in West Africa. From helping hospitals improve training and care to coordinating and contributing significant resources to fight the disease at its source, the Administration is working to help keep Americans safe.

Today, President Obama met with Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain and Administration officials to discuss the latest steps we're taking to prevent the spread of Ebola here at home. One way is through active monitoring, a procedure the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in coordination with local health authorities, is putting in place to ensure travelers from the affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea will report their temperature and symptoms to health officials for 21 days. The CDC will work with state and local officials of six states -- New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Georgia, which are the destinations for the majority of travelers from the three countries -- to actively monitor them. 

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Weekly Wrap Up: A Look at Our Week

This week at the White House, the President updated the nation on our government-wide response to Ebola, we discussed efforts against ISIL with our international efforts, and the First Lady asked, “Turnip for What?” 

Photo of the Week

 

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President Obama talks on the phone with HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell concerning the latest update on the Ebola situation.

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We Continued to Respond to Ebola

On Wednesday, the President met with Cabinet officials and Dr. Tom Frieden -- of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- in the Cabinet Room of the White House. 
 
After the meeting, President Obama laid out our comprehensive plan to contain Ebola, prevent its spread in the United States, and combat it at its source in West Africa.
 
Have questions about how exactly the disease spread? We’ve got the facts:
  • Ebola cannot be spread through the air, water, or food in the U.S. You cannot contract Ebola through casual contact with someone who has no symptoms. 
  • Ebola can only be contracted through bodily fluids, contaminated objects, or infected animals.
  • Ebola only spreads when people are showing symptoms. 
Now that you’ve got the key facts, pass it on to someone else who needs to know

Worth sharing: Here are the facts on #Ebola, and what we're doing to respond → http://t.co/RMFwal2IB8 pic.twitter.com/UJLnOsP7RV

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

Today, the President appointed Ron Klain to coordinate the government’s comprehensive response to Ebola. Mr. Klain has served as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents, and his talent and managerial skills extend far beyond the White House. He has a great working relationship with leading Members of Congress and brings extensive intergovernmental operations experience to the job.

We Joined International Military Leaders to Discuss Efforts Against ISIL

On Tuesday, President Obama headed to Joint Base Andrews to meet with military leaders from over 20 partner nations and discuss coalition efforts to ultimately degrade and destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.
 
At the meeting, hosted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dempsey, the President reiterated that: 
  • The U.S. will take action against targets in both Iraq and Syria, so ISIL cannot find safe haven anywhere.
  • The U.S. will act as part of a broad international coalition, because this is not our fight alone.
President Obama meets with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss coalition efforts in the campaign against ISIL

President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command also participates in the meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

FLOTUS asked: “Turnip for What?”

On Tuesday, the First Lady hosted her very first Vine and Twitter Q & A to answer questions about Let's Move! before welcoming students to the White House for the annual fall harvest. During the Q & A, the First Lady answered a range of questions – including healthy Halloween ideas, her favorite fall vegetables, the status of the White House bees, and asked, turnip for what?

Take a look at the full Q & A on Storify, and be sure to follow Mrs. Obama on Twitter and Instagram for additional updates.

Want to see even more? Be sure to check out the White House Blog, this week's episode of West Wing Week, and the White House's official Twitter account:

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President Obama Joins International Military Leaders to Discuss Coalition Efforts Against ISIL

President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Ge... Read more »

This Week in History: How Our National Anthem Was Born

Frances Scott Key was a 35-year-old Washington lawyer who'd been opposed to America's entry into the War of 1812 from the beginning. But on the evening of September 13, 1814, he found himself watching as a prisoner on a sailing ship deck as the ships of the world's mightiest navy rained shot and shell down on Fort McHenry, a small fort protecting the city of Baltimore.

The British, having set Washington on fire and raided Alexandria, began heading north toward Baltimore, where they met a Royal Navy fleet headed in from the Chesapeake Bay. They launched their bombardment in the rain.

A view of the bombardment of fort mchenry

This colored etching, depicting the bombardment of Fort McHenry, was created in Philadelphia around 1816. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society)

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President Obama Hosts Iftar Dinner at the White House

President Barack Obama hosts an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House, July 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon) Last night... Read more »