nov 18 2012

Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 Countries

by Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer

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)

Australia, 2014

Holding a koala before the G20 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Nov. 15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Belgium, 2014

Meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and King Philippe in Waregem, Belgium, March 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Brazil, 2011

Visiting the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Cambodia, 2012

Departing Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Canada, 2009

Waving to onlookers from the Presidential limousine near Ward Market in Ottawa, Canada, during his first foreign trip as President, February 19, 2009.

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