Vermont, March 30, 2012. Greeting the crowd in Burlington. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 States

by Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer


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, 2015

Alabama, March 7, 2015. Marching at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Alaska, 2009

Alaska. Nov 12, 2009. Air Force One refueling at Elmendorf Air Force Base. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Arizona, 2009

Arizona, Aug. 16, 2009. Viewing the Grand Canyon. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Arkansas, 2014

Arkansas. May 7, 2014. Touring tornado damage in Vilonia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

California, 2014

California, July 23, 2014. Viewing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Colorado, 2014

Colorado, July 8, 2014. Playing pool with Gov. John Hickenlooper in Denver. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Connecticut, 2012

Connecticut, Dec. 16, 2012. Making last-minute edits to his speech in Newtown, before a vigil for those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Delaware, 2009

Delaware, Oct. 29, 2009. Honoring fallen soldiers from Afghanistan at Dover Air Force Base. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Florida, 2015

Florida, April 22, 2015. Keeping his distance from a baby alligator on Earth Day at Everglades National Park. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Georgia, 2013

Georgia, May 19, 2013. Graduates cheering the President during a heavy downpour at Morehouse College in Atlanta. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Hawaii, 2012

Hawaii, Jan. 1, 2012. Swimming at Pyramid Rock Beach in Kaneohe Bay. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Idaho, 2015

Idaho, Jan. 21, 2015. Posing for a photo with kids at Boise Airport. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Illinois, 2012

Illinois, Jan. 11, 2012. Viewing Chicago at sunset from Marine One. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Indiana, 2010

Indiana, Nov. 23, 2010. Dropping by the Gingerbread House Bakery in Kokomo with the Vice President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Iowa, 2012

Iowa, Sept. 2012. Speaking at a grassroots campaign event at Living History Farms in Urbandale. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Kansas, 2011

Kansas, Dec. 6, 2011. Waving to Kansans after his economic speech in Osawatomie. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Kentucky, 2011

Kentucky, May 6, 2011. Greeting troops with the Vice President at Fort Campbell. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Louisiana, 2010

Louisiana, June 4, 2010. Flying over the Gulf of Mexico from Grand Isle to New Orleans after the BP oil spill. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Maine, 2010

Maine, July 16, 2010. Hiking with the family on Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Maryland, 2009

Maryland, May 22, 2009. Graduates celebrating at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Massachusetts, 2014

Massachusetts, Aug. 14, 2014. Discussing the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, while on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Michigan, 2012

Michigan, April 18, 2012. Sitting on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Minnesota, 2014

Minnesota, June 26, 2014. Talking with letter writer Rebekah Erler at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Mississippi, 2010

Mississippi, June 14, 2010. Meeting on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, at the Gulfport Coast Guard Station. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Missouri, 2011

Missouri, May 29, 2011. Consoling families affected by the deadly tornadoes in Joplin. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Montana, 2009

Montana, Aug. 14, 2009. Fly fishing near Bozeman.
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Nebraska, 2012

Nebraska, Aug. 13, 2012. Greeting military personnel at Offutt Air Force Base. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Nevada, 2012

Nevada, Oct. 2, 2012. Viewing the Hoover Dam. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

New Hampshire, 2012

New Hampshire, Sept. 7, 2012. Joking with the Vice President Joe Biden before a campaign rally in Portsmouth. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

New Jersey, 2013

New Jersey, May 28, 2013. Highlighting the opening of the Point Pleasant boardwalk with Gov. Chris Christie and his family following Hurricane Sandy’s devastation the previous September. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

New Mexico, 2010

New Mexico, Sept. 28, 2010. Having lemonade with Andy and Etta Cavalier at their home in Albuquerque. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

New York, 2011

New York, Sept. 11, 2011. Greeting families, with former President and Mrs. Bush, prior to a commemoration ceremony on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacksPresident and Mrs. Obama. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

North Carolina, 2011

North Carolina, Oct. 17, 2011. Listening to the President’s remarks in Millers Creek. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

North Dakota, 2014

North Dakota, June 13, 2014. Greeting a young boy during a Flag Day celebration at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation in Cannon Ball. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Ohio, 2010

Ohio, May 18, 2010. Greeting workers during a shift change at V&M Star, a manufacturer of steel products, in Youngstown. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Oklahoma, 2013

Oklahoma, May 26, 2013. Hugging Amy Simpson, principal of Plaza Towers Elementary School, while viewing the remains of the school following a devastating tornado in Moore. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Oregon, 2012

Oregon, July 24, 2012. Reacting to a quip from a patron at the Gateway Breakfast House in Portland. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Pennsylvania, 2010

Pennsylvania, Oct. 10, 2010. The crowd at a rally in Philadelphia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Rhode Island, 2014

Rhode Island, Aug. 29, 2014. Viewing the ocean at Brenton Point in Newport. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

South Carolina, 2015

South Carolina, March 6, 2015. Reacting to an enthusiastic greeter at Columbia Metropolitan Airport. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

South Dakota, 2015

The President shows off a note given to him by Rebecca Kelley who had written him a letter asking him to visit South Dakota. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Tennessee, 2011

Tennessee, May 16, 2011. Shaking hands with Booker T. Washington students before their commencement ceremony in Memphis. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Texas, 2010

Texas, Aug. 9, 2010. Trying on a pair of cowboy boots at the University of Texas in Austin. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Utah, 2015

Utah, April 3, 2015. Viewing solar panels at Hill Air Force Base. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Vermont, 2012

Vermont, March 30, 2012. Greeting the crowd in Burlington. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Virginia, 2012

Virginia, July 14, 2012. Speaking during a rainstorm in Glen Allen. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Washington, 2013

Washington, Nov. 25, 2013. Departing Seattle on a foggy morning. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

West Virginia, 2010

West Virginia, June 28, 2010. Celebrating the life of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, with the Vice President and former President Clinton, at a memorial service in Charleston. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Wisconsin, 2010

Wisconsin, Sept. 28, 2010. Cheering with the La Follette Lancers football team during their practice in Madison. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Wyoming, 2009

Wyoming, Aug. 15, 2009. Watching geysers with the family at Yellowstone National Park. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

See other posts in the series:

Behind the Lens: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Pete Souza describes how he captured a photo of a rainbow as the President’s arrived in Kingston, Jamaica. See the photos.

Behind the Lens: Selma, 50 Years Later

Pete Souza takes you inside the President’s visit to Selma for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. See the photos.

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