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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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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Keeping Up the Demand for Action on Gun Violence

It’s been two weeks since President Obama released his plan for reducing gun violence. Since then, the President and the Vice President have continued their push for common-sense steps to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun v... Read more »

Weekly Wrap Up: The Dignity and Freedom That Every Person Deserves

Here's a quick glimpse at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov: Team USA Behind the Scenes: Last week, the President and the First Lady welcomed the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and su... Read more »

West Wing Week: 09/21/12 or "The Dignity and Freedom That Every Person Deserves"

This week, the President, Vice President and Secretary of State attended the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the four Americans killed in Libya, while the White House welcomed Olympians and Paralympians, WNBA champions the Minnesota Lynx, new foreign ... Read more »

President Obama Salutes the Extraordinary Decade of Military Service by the 9/11 Generation

President Obama today praised the extraordinary decade of service rendered by the 9/11 Generation of our military, the more than five million men and women – all of whom voluntarily joined the armed forces over the past ten years. He also paid ... Read more »