13 Intimate Photos Of Obama From 2016 That Capture The Last Bittersweet Year Of His Presidency

They're from White House photographer Pete Souza's '2016 Year in Photos' collection.

As the real-time documentarian of the nation's first African American president, White House photographer Pete Souza's work is one of vast historical significance. Each year, Souza releases his "Year in Photographs," a selection of images from him and his staff of President Obama at work. Souza's collection this year captures some of the most up-close and personal moments in Obama's final year in the White House.

Souza told BBC that over the course of Obama's two terms, he's probably taken some 2 million photos — that's more than 200,000 each year. Of that estimated 200,000, Souza picked dozens in a process that he described in a Medium article about his "2016 Year in Photographs" as "both subjective and personal." Some, he wrote, are historic moments, and others simply because they were "just cool photos." But Souza mostly looked for images that showed the president and First Lady in a more personal light. Here are some of the most iconic.

Souza's full collection is published on Medium.



Jan. 5, 2016

"With sunlight streaming through a window in the Green Room, President Obama listens to his introduction by Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed during the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Later, as he made remarks in the East Room, he began to cry as he recalled the day of the shootings; he called it the worst day of his Presidency." 


Feb. 18, 2016

"President Obama watches the First Lady dance with 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a reception celebrating African American History Month." 


March 20, 2016

"'I love that picture,' the President said to me when he saw this one hanging on the walls of the West Wing. Truth be told, he says that about every picture that features Malia or Sasha. The President and Malia were sharing a laugh as Malia interpreted in Spanish for a restauranteur in Havana, Cuba." 


April 14, 2016

"The President is always asking staff to bring their babies and young kids by for a visit. Here, during a break between meetings one afternoon, the President crawled around in the Oval Office with Communications Director Jen Psaki's daughter Vivi."


April 22, 2016

"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."


June 22, 2016
"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."


Aug. 4, 2016

"With some staff watching in the background, President Obama blows out candles after the Vice President surprised him with some birthday cupcakes."


Pete Souza/Instagram

Sept. 7, 2016

"The President sips from a coconut during his visit in Luang Prabang, Laos. This was just after it was chopped open, splattering pieces of coconut on his shirt."


Sept. 24, 2016

"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 honors. 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."


Nov. 11, 2016
"The excitement in his face says it all. Bill Mohr, 108 years old (not a typo), was the oldest living World War II veteran when he met President Obama after a Veterans Day breakfast at the White House. Bill passed away a couple of weeks ago and his family released a statement including this sentence: 'Meeting a sitting President was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for our father, who was a true patriot.'"


Nov. 22, 2016

"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." 


Dec. 16, 2016

"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."


Dec. 27, 2016

"President Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan toss flowers at the wishing well after laying a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor."


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