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Behind the Lens: 2015 Year in Photographs

Posted December 31st, 2015 at 3:42 pm (UTC-5)
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By Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer

One of the best and most challenging aspects of my job is whittling down a year’s worth of photographs to the final selections for my annual Year in Photographs. Every year, I attempt to keep it less than 100 photos — and every year I fail in that goal. But I am excited once again to present this gallery for the seventh consecutive year.

Each photograph, taken either by me or a White House photographer on my staff, is accompanied by my personal observations about the image. Some images require little explanation. However, for several images, I’ve included the backstory behind the image to provide further context or to share why that image was particularly important to me.

Editing photographs, especially for a project like this, is both subjective and personal. I not only found key historic moments from the year, but also chose moments that give people a more personal look at the lives of the President and First Lady. I’ve also included many photographs that rely more on their graphic qualities, including light and composition. And yes, I’ve included a couple of photographs of the President with Ella Rhodes, because she was certainly the best subject of the year.

I hope you enjoy this gallery. I look forward to doing this one last time next year.

Jan. 20, 2015 “Recently released from prison in Cuba, Alan Gross pumps his fist in the air from First Lady Michelle Obama’s box after President Obama acknowledged him at the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol.” (Official White House Photo By Chuck Kennedy)

Jan. 20, 2015

“Recently released from prison in Cuba, Alan Gross pumps his fist in the air from First Lady Michelle Obama’s box after President Obama acknowledged him at the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol.” (Official White House Photo By Chuck Kennedy)

Jan. 22, 2015 “While we were in Lawrence, Kan., we stopped at the Community Children’s Center–one of the nation’s oldest Head Start providers. The President sat next to Akira Cooper, right, and reacted to something she said to him.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Jan. 22, 2015

“While we were in Lawrence, Kan., we stopped at the Community Children’s Center–one of the nation’s oldest Head Start providers. The President sat next to Akira Cooper, right, and reacted to something she said to him.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Feb. 8, 2015 “David Lienemann, the Vice President’s photographer, made this image in Dachau, Germany, of the VP and his granddaughter Finnegan Biden touring the concentration camp with Max Mannheimer, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor.” (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)Feb. 8, 2015

“David Lienemann, the Vice President’s photographer, made this image in Dachau, Germany, of the VP and his granddaughter Finnegan Biden touring the concentration camp with Max Mannheimer, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor.” (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Feb. 23, 2015 “The President’s daughter Malia stopped by the Oval Office one afternoon to see her dad and, while they were talking, she wiped something from his face.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Feb. 23, 2015

“The President’s daughter Malia stopped by the Oval Office one afternoon to see her dad and, while they were talking, she wiped something from his face.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Click here for the rest of Pete Souza’s amazing photo retrospective.

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