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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Kelly Wrote the President About Health Reform — Today, She’s With Him in Nashville.

Every day, the White House receives thousands of letters and emails from across the country. Our job in the Office of Presidential Correspondence is to sort and read each message and make sure that President Obama hears directly from Americans about what matters to them.

Today, the President is speaking in Nashville, Tennessee to talk about the ways health care reform is continuing to help millions of Americans. On his way over, he picked up Kelly Bryant to thank her for the letter she wrote him about the Affordable Care Act and to hear directly from her about how it changed her life.

In 2011, Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer and would later rely on insurance coverage made possible by the Affordable Care Act.  She wrote in her letter, “Because of healthcare reform, I am not scared of losing everything. I can start thinking about my new life and how the path is paved with opportunities instead of despair.”

Together, Kelly and President Obama are at a local elementary school, where they've been joined by Natoma Canfield. They’re having a conversation with others from the Nashville area who have written to the President about the Affordable Care Act, as well as doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers and leaders, and volunteers to talk about the ways this law is making a difference in Nashville and across our country.

Kelly has long supported health care reform, because she knew many Americans lacked quality, affordable health coverage.  And today, she will have the chance to discuss the impact of this law with her neighbors and the President.

Read her letter here:

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The Letter the President Carried:

Today at 2:30 pm ET in Nashville, TN, President Obama is participating in a discussion on how we can build on the progress we've made under the Affordable Care Act. Watch live:

Natoma Canfield Letter

A letter from Natoma Canfield, a woman from Ohio that President Barack Obama met who didn’t have health insurance, hangs on the wall in the hall between the Oval Office and the President's Private Office in the West Wing. June 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

More than five years ago, as Congress engaged in heated debates over the Affordable Care Act, President Obama carried a single piece of paper with him every single day: this letter from Natoma Canfield.

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On the Other Side of the Camp

June marks Immigrant Heritage Month -- and people across the country are sharing their American stories. Whether you've recently embarked on your first day as an American or want to share how your ancestors came to arrive here, we want to hear from you. Add your voice to the conversation today.

I was born in Somalia, but mostly what I remember are flashes of a carefree child, happily unaware of the world beyond the Utanga Refugee Camp in Kenya. About half a mile from our UNHCR-issued blue tent was the fence that surrounded the camp. Beyond the fence was an endless blue horizon of ocean. And if you stood close enough, on the slight precipice before the fence, you could see where the beach welcomed the waves — its sand, sometimes clear and brightly glistening; other times, dark and dusky, casting sad grayish hues. It felt abandoned and desolate. I never saw any people down there. But sometimes I would catch the sight of boats with colorful sails drifting over the waves.

Most of the other children congregated over at the dumpsites and water wells, fashioning toys out of trash and rocks. I kept to myself, a quiet but curious observer exploring the neighborhoods within the camp. I would often come home well past sundown, only to be rightfully scolded by a concerned parent. But those daily, miles-long excursions only left me hungry for more.

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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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Weekly Address: State of the Union Is This Tuesday

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 15, 2015.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 15, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

In this week's address, the President recounted the stories of letter writers from around the country who will be joining him when he delivers his annual State of the Union address this Tuesday: Carolyn, who was able to expand her small business through a Small Business Administration loan, and this year raised wages for their hourly employees; Jason, a wounded warrior who served in Afghanistan and is now back home with his wife and first daughter, born in November; and Victor, who affords his student loans with help from the Income Based Repayment Plan, and has health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.

Stories like theirs are proof of the progress our country has made. The President encouraged everyone to tune in Tuesday evening to hear more about America’s comeback, and the steps we can take to ensure all Americans – not just a fortunate few – benefit from our American resurgence.

Transcript | mp4 | mp3

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Senator Bill Frist: To Beat Ebola, We Must Keep Our Eye on the Ball

Ed. Note: The following excerpts are from an op-ed for Fox News written by Senator William "Bill" H. Frist, M.D., an American physician, businessman, and former Republican Senator from Tennessee who served as the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. You can read the full op-ed here

When crisis strikes, the world looks to the United States for leadership. And that holds true for public health emergencies.

...

That is why it is critically important for the United States to remain on offense. To this end, the Obama administration last week requested $6.2 billion in emergency funding from Congress for the Ebola response.

This request supports what we know we must do to counter this disease: tackle it on the front lines, fortify our domestic health infrastructure, pursue vaccines and therapeutics and improve our capacity for rapid diagnostic testing, among other key steps.

Some of these funds would be spent at home, while part would go toward the international response. But to be clear, every single dollar would help protect the American people from this threat, which must remain the priority.

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ASP in Tennessee: Climate Change Threatens Security

Representatives of the American Security Project visited Western and Central Tennessee for a series of meetings, public events, and briefings on how climate change is affecting security, and how businesses are planning for it.

The post ASP in Tennessee: Climate Change Threatens Security appeared first on American Security Project.

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What We Are Reading

ASP ICYMI: #Iran #NuclearTalks #Ukraine #ClimateChange #Egypt #NorthKorea #NuclearWeapons #NationalSecurity #Space #SpaceX #Russia #AmericanCompetitiveness #AfghanElection #Tennessee

The post What We Are Reading appeared first on American Security Project.

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