In Pictures

Obama's photographer presents his last year in review

Barack Obama sits on his desk in the Oval Office, deep in thought Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption February: "This photograph evokes the President in deep thought, which is not always an easy mood to convey. He was prepping with his national security staff before a teleconference with European leaders."

"It's been the honour of a lifetime to be a witness to history these past eight years."

The president's photographer, Pete Souza, has selected the finest photos from inside the White House and beyond for his final annual review, before the Obama administration is replaced in January.

"The editing for this project is both subjective and personal," he said.

"Yes, there are some historic moments included but mostly I was looking for behind-the-scenes moments that give people a more personal look at the president and first lady."

We have reproduced a selection, with insights from behind the lens by Mr Souza.

Obama kicks a leg in frustration, while exclaiming, on a putting green with two other players Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption February: "President Obama reacts as his putt falls just short during an impromptu hole of golf with staffers Joe Paulsen, left, and Marvin Nicholson"
A young child dressed in a suit looks up at the unseen face of the president, as Obama reaches down and his mother stands behind him Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption February: "I had my eye on this youngster while President Barack Obama spoke during a reception at the White House celebrating African American History Month. When the president started greeting audience members along the rope line, I bent down in front of the young man and captured this moment of the president touching his face before he too bent down to greet him. Afterwards, I tracked down his name - Clark Reynolds - and had the president sign a copy for him."
The Obama family, including the first lady Michelle and her two daughters, walk down a red-carpeted hallway flanked by musicians at a black tie reception in the White House. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption March: "What an honour to watch these girls grow up. Malia, foreground, and Sasha were both invited guests for the State Dinner in honour of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Mrs Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau. Following the actual sit-down dinner in the East Room, they made their way down the Great Hall to the State Dining Room for the musical entertainment."
Obama dances, arms outstretched, with a staff member in the reception room adjacent to the oval office. The staff member is laughing looking directly at the camera. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption March: "It just happened spontaneously one afternoon as the president began dancing in the Outer Oval with Personal Aide Ferial Govashiri. As I recall, he was helping her practise for her upcoming wedding."
The First Lady watches as President Obama gives a hug to a little girl in the White House. the President is bent down to reach the small child. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption March: "The First Lady watches as President Obama gives a hug to Caprina Harris before the annual Easter Egg Roll. Caprina had burst out in tears when she was told by her family that Obama would no longer be president; the resulting YouTube video went viral and President Obama responded to her on Facebook and said he wasn't going anywhere. They finally had a chance to meet here."
Britain's Prince George shakes hands with a kneeling Barack Obama, while the first lady and George's father, Prince William, look on. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption April: "Originally it was unclear whether I would be permitted to photograph the president meeting Prince George. But the night before, our advance team called and said they had gotten word from Kensington Palace that they would allow me access to make candid photographs during their visit. Afterwards, this photograph garnered the most attention but at the time all I could think was how the table at right was hindering my ability to be at the optimum angle for this moment."
A ring of children spray vice president Joe Biden with a water gun, which he returns in kind. A giant, chest-high beach ball lies between them. Image copyright David Lienemann / White House
Image caption June: "The vice-president chases children and members of the press with a super soaker during the 2016 Biden Beach Boardwalk Bash held at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington DC."
Two matching chairs hold a very young girl in pink, left, and Obama, right, as they share a glance in the White House. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption June: "The great thing about children is you just don't know what they will do in the presence of the president. So when David Axelrod stopped by the Oval Office with one of his sons' family, Axe's granddaughter, Maelin, crawled onto the vice-president's seat while the president continued his conversation with the adults. Then at one point, Maelin glanced over just as the president was looking back at her."
Angela Merkel, centre, laughs expressively with hands to her mouth, while Francois Hollande, left, and Mr Obama, right, remain impassive. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption July: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts when she thought they were somehow going to squeeze the entire press corps into a small hallway in Warsaw, Poland, to do a group photo with all of the European leaders. Instead, they were just being lined up in the order that they were supposed to walk into the room where the press was already prepositioned."
Mr Obama blows out candles as Joe Biden stands over him in the White House. Some West Wing staff members can be seen in the distant doorway, and a large framed piece of text titled "all the president's notions" lies on the desk. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption August: "With some staff watching in the background, President Obama blows out candles after the vice-president surprised him with some birthday cupcakes."
Just outside the Oval Office, Barack Obama looks to the ceiling, wearing a virtual reality headset over his eyes and ears, as a staff member ignores him and works on her computer. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption August: "President Obama watches a virtual reality film captured during his trip to Yosemite National Park earlier this summer as Personal Aide Ferial Govashiri continues working at her computer."
In the lower left, Barack Obama watches the reflections on the calm Potomac River, surrounded by rocks and trees. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption September: "The president had gone for a hike with daughter Malia at Great Falls National Park, Virginia, and sat down on a rock overlooking the Potomac River."
George Clooney, left, and Barack Obama, right, stand back-to-back with shirtsleeves rolled up and top buttons undone. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption September: "After a meeting with actor and human rights activist George Clooney, the president invited him and three of his colleagues to shoot hoops on the White House basketball court. This photo garnered a lot of attention when it was hung on the walls of the West Wing."
Michelle Obama wheels a loaded trolley - also containing Ellen de Generes - through a pharmacy. Ms De Generes is reading a romance novel while sitting under a selection of groceries. Image copyright Lawrence Jackson / White House
Image caption September: "The first lady goes shopping at a CVS Pharmacy in preparation for life after the White House during a segment taping for the Ellen DeGeneres Show in Burbank, California."
Barack Obama, left, takes a photo on a smartphone of a family with George W Bush, at a formal event. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption September: "Following the official opening of the African American Museum, the Bonner family wanted to have their picture taken with former President George W Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush. President Bush took the Bonner's family smart phone and looking around for someone to snap the picture tapped President Obama on the shoulder and asked him to do the honours. The Bonner Family are fourth generation descendants of Elijah B. Odom, a young slave who escaped to freedom. The Bushes were instrumental in the creation of the museum, with Laura Bush serving on the board of directors."
Obama sits on a bench on the White House lawn, apparently speaking to man made entirely out of red Lego bricks. The Lego man is leaning forward intently with elbows on knees. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption October: "The White House was hosting South by South Lawn, an event based on the infamous South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas. Just before lunch that day, the president was checking out the setup from a window in the Oval Office before the gates were opened. 'Hey Pete,' he said to me, 'let's go take a picture with the Lego men.' And so we did."
A silhouette at sunset shows Barack and Michelle Obama toast two champagne flutes before an assembled crowd, with the Washington Monument visible in the background Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption October: "There was almost no light remaining at the end of the day when the president and first lady walked out to the South Lawn for a 'Fourth Quarter' toast to White House staff."
Bill Murray, left, putts a golf ball into a drinking glass in the Oval Office, as Barack Obama looks on Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption October: "Bill Murray stopped by the White House to be honoured as the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. When the president opened the door to the Oval Office, he laughed that Bill was in full Chicago Cubs regalia just before the Cubs were to begin the World Series. After the presentation, Murray demonstrated his prowess in putting, 'sinking' several putts into a White House drinking glass, all while doing a public service announcement to sign up for the Affordable Care Act."
Left, a small child dressed in a superman outfit attempts to flex his muscles, while right, Mr Obama shows him how the pose is done. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption October: "The president was about to welcome local children for Halloween trick-or-treating when he ran into Superman Walker Earnest, son of Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in the Ground Floor Corridor of the White House. 'Flex those muscles,' he said to Walker."
Mr Obama and Joe Biden face dozens of communication staff members, filling the Oval Office, on the day after Donald Trump's election victory. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption November: "It was the morning after the election and the president wanted to speak to press secretary Josh Earnest about how to characterise his thoughts to the press. When he heard Josh was meeting with his team, the president sent word to bring the team with him, thinking it was just a few others. But it turned out that Josh had the entire communications, speechwriting and research team in his office and they all filtered in to the Oval, some for the first time."
Obama, leaning casually against his desk, looks at six-year-old Alex, dressed in a suit, in a visit to the Oval Office. Alex's mother looks on as his father holds a smaller girl in his arms. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption November: "A good respite from the day after the election was the visit of Alex Myteberi. The six-year-old boy from New York had written a letter to President Obama after seeing a heart-breaking photograph of Syrian refugee Omran Daqneesh sitting silently in an ambulance, covered in blood and dust, after an air strike on Aleppo. In his letter, Alex wrote to the president: 'Can you please go get him and bring him to my home. We'll be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers, and balloons. We will give him a family and he will be our brother. The president was so touched by the letter that he read excerpts from it at the United Nations in September. Alex and his family were invited to the Oval Office so the president could tell him in person how much the letter had meant to him."
The president reaches out to shake hands with Bruce Springsteen in the Blue Room of the White House prior to the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption November: "Bruuuuuce! The president reaches out to shake hands with Bruce Springsteen in the Blue Room of the White House prior to the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony. I'm so happy for Bruce, having been a fan of his for almost 30 years during which I've seen at least 35 of his concerts."
An out-of-focus Mr Obama works at this desk. Visible in the window, in sharp focus, is an elaborate snowman with scarf and earmuffs. Image copyright Pete Souza / White House
Image caption December: "When I first posted this photograph and told the story about the prank in moving four snowmen so they were peeking into the Oval Office, some took this to mean that I had been the one to execute the prank. But it was not me, and as I previously wrote, the staff that pulled this off will remain nameless, unless Brian decides he wants to come forward with saying who helped him. Whoops."

Mr Souza's original post contains many more photos and the background on them. He has also posted a "year in photos" round-up from the White House in previous years.

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