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)

read more

Read more »

Regional Roundup: What America’s Newspapers are Saying About the Iran Deal

This week, the President announced that the United States – with our allies and partners – has reached a comprehensive, long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The world’s superpowers as well as ... Read more »

No Shangri-La in South China Sea

On Saturday in Singapore, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter addressed the attendants at the 14th Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-level security forum, asserting China’s recent land reclamation in the South China Sea was "out of step" with international norms, and adding his opposition to “any further militarization” in the region. Read more »

My Day One: September 6, 2012

September 6, 2012 was my first day as a citizen of the United States of America. I raised my hand, took the oath of allegiance, and the United States officially became my country that day. At the naturalization ceremony, I received the following lette... Read more »

West Wing Week: 05/29/15 or, “High Fives For Everybody!”

This week, the President donned a yarmulke at Adas Israel Congregation, where he also sang and danced with some preschoolers; marked the first Memorial Day since our war in Afghanistan came to an end; hosted the NATO Secretary-General in the Oval Office; and answered your questions on climate change during a Twitter Q&A in Miami. That's May 22 to May 28th or, “High Fives for Everybody!”

 

Friday

  • The President greeted rabbis at Adas Israel, one of Washington’s oldest synagogues, to mark Jewish American Heritage Month – and made an impromptu visit to a preschool classroom.
  • The President hosted foreign diplomats for an annual reception in the East Room.

Monday

  • On Memorial Day, the President joined 5,000 people at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and reflect on the day with the families of those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Tuesday

  • Reporters from all over the world joined the President and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office, following their bilateral meeting.
  • The President teamed up with the Vice President to surprise Vivian Bailey on her White House tour.

Wednesday

  • The EPA announced its finalized Clean Water Rule, after reviewing over a million public comments. The Rule will protect safe and clean drinking water for millions of American families.

Thursday

Read more »

U.S. Confronts China Over Airspace in South China Sea

I had not given much thought to the flight plan of the airline I recently booked to go back to the U.S. from Vietnam, but recent events in the airspace over the South China Sea prompted an online search. As I discovered, my commercial flight will be flying not far from where a U.S. surveillance plane was warned on Wednesday to leave by a Chinese radar operator. Read more »

What Top Officials Charged with Keeping Our Nation Safe Are Saying About the TPP

It is certainly true that America’s trade policy plays a large role in the resurgence and strength of our economy – but that’s not the only role it fills. Our trade policy also sits at the core of our strategy to keep America and our allies safe in the 21st century. 

So here's the question: How can the President's progressive trade deal -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- help safeguard our future?

Tour of @Boeing factory was particularly special for me -- my Dad was a pilot/flying has been in my family for years pic.twitter.com/U7QmoGlnLz

— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) May 19, 2015

Speaking today at Boeing Headquarters in Seattle, WA, America's top diplomat -- Secretary of State John Kerry -- offered this answer

"It is no secret that the world in the future looks pretty complicated right now. The turbulence that we see comes from a combination of factors, including the fact that even as the world grows closer, there are powerful forces pulling people apart – terrorism, extreme nationalism, conflicts over resources, a huge number of people coming of age in parts of the world where there simply aren’t enough jobs. This creates a race between opportunity and frustration that we can’t afford to lose.

Expanded trade can help us win that race by spurring innovation and – and as we’ve seen in Asia and elsewhere – helping hundreds of millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty. And poverty, my friends, is where you see much of this violent extremism born.

read more

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)

read more

Read more »

Celebrating Passover at the White House

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a Passover Seder dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, April 3, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Sou... Read more »

Round-Up: Editorial Boards From Around the Country Respond to the 47 Republican Senators

Earlier this week, 47 Republican Senators sent a letter to Iran’s leaders that was expressly designed to undercut the President in the midst of sensitive international negotiations. This letter ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to ... Read more »