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 President Wraps Up Trip in Burma, Heads to Australia

President Obama Walks Toward Air Force One in Burma

President Barack Obama walks towards Air Force One past honor guards and a group of representatives from Burmese ethnic groups before departing from Naypyitaw International Airport in Burma. November 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has spent the week traveling in China, Burma, and Australia to help further the U.S. rebalancing strategy and his firm belief that our economic ties to the Asia Pacific region are integral to America's economic growth.

After securing a historic agreement with China to reduce carbon pollution, the President traveled to Naypyitaw and Rangoon, Burma for the East Asia Summit, the U.S.-ASEAN Summit, and for a bilateral meeting with Burmese President Thein Sein. 

Two years ago, President Obama became the first American president to visit this country. On this visit, both Presidents discussed the progress that Burma has made in the pursuit of a more open democracy and the work that's left to do: 

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President Obama Heads to Beijing, Kicking Off Trip to Asia and Australia

President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One to a red carpet welcome on arrival at Capital International Airport in Beijing

President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One to a red carpet welcome on arrival at Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Nov. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Over the weekend, President Obama headed to Beijing to kick off his sixth trip to Asia as President -- and his second trip to Asia this year.

The trip -- which will also include stops in Burma and Australia -- will underscore the President's deep commitment to his Asia rebalancing strategy, and will reiterate his firm belief that America's trade and investment ties to Asia are critical to our future economic growth and the creation of American jobs.

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From the Archives: Air Force One and Presidential Air Travel

Click here to see the photo gallery.   The President of the United States must be ready to travel anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. Fortunately, modern Presidents have access to a variety of transportation options, including ... Read more »

Christian cannibal: first the horror, then the meditation

[ by Charles Cameron -- you may not want to watch the video - read the text first, okay? ] . Here’s what the BBC-wallah said: The Christians were victims; now they’re on top. It’s a dangerous time to be Muslim. A charred and dismembered body is dragged through the streets. Christians have just killed [...] Read more »

Monk Wirathu’s 969 quotes the Dalai Lama’s Kalachakra

[ by Charles Cameron -- a Buddhist instance of the widespread use of sacred texts as offering sanction for religious violence, with Muslims depicted as the enemy on this occasion ] . . I have commented a couple of times on texts from the Kalachakra Tantra literature about a future war between Buddhism and Islam, [...] Read more »

Myanmar between Woolwich and Al-Aqsa 1: interfaith hatred

[ by Charles Cameron -- in which jihadis take on Jews, Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, quite an interfaith haul for hatred ] . Aaron Zelin at Jihadology posted an hour-long video entitled Woolwich Attack a week or so ago, and I found it particularly interesting on two accounts: first, that it makes a multi-faith attack [...] Read more »

Nairobi tweets 1: Bulletproof?

[ by Charles Cameron -- taking a hint from the twitter stream of HSM Press and running with it ] Update: As of Monday morning 11am California time: I now think it’s clear that the twitter stream I was commenting on in this post and the second in the series was not an official Shabaab [...] Read more »

West Wing Week: 05/24/13 or “Justice for Everybody”

This week, the President continued his Jobs & Opportunity tour, this time highlighting bold new efforts in education and manufacturing in Baltimore, gave the commencement address at Morehouse College, invited the President of Myanmar, eight immigra... Read more »

Nawaz Wins: What’s Next in Pakistan?

Nawaz Sharif appears to be a known factor, yet all we really know is that Pakistani policy under the PML-N could go in many different directions, none under U.S. control. In this situation, diplomacy will serve better than drones and CIA sub-contractors. Read more »