The White House on Wednesday released its annual collection of some of the most interesting photographs of President Barack Obama and his family.
“Most of the moments captured can best be described as behind-the-scenes -- that is, photographs taken away from the spotlight of public events. Some of the photographs are historic because of what is taking place, but others hopefully give people a more personal sense of who the President and First Lady are,” said Pete Souza, director and chief official White House photographer.
We picked 20 pictures that we absolutely loved.
Image: US President Barack Obama travels to the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House
Image: Obama lifts the daughter of a departing staff member in the Oval Office. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House
Image: Obama takes a walk with former Chief of Staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel when they stop to pet Sunny along the South Grounds of the White House. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House
Image: Photographer Lawrence Jackson captures First Lady Michelle Obama backstage watching the president deliver remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 44th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington, DC.
Image: "Through a crack in the door, the president listens as Lilly Jay related her experience as a sexual assault survivor during the launch of the 'It's On Us' campaign, a new public awareness and action campaign designed to prevent sexual assault at colleges and universities," says Pete Souza
Image: Obama was in New York when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in Ukraine. In a holding room, the president holds a conference call with CIA Director John Brennan and his national security team to discuss the US response. Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer and Anita Decker Breckenridge, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, monitored updates on their Blackberrys. Photograph:
Pete Souza/White House
Image: Pete Souza says, "I'm including this photograph because the president just loved looking around at Cool Vintage Watches in Parkville, Missouri. 'A lot of cool stuff,' was how he described it to me afterwards. He said he could have spent a lot more time looking around in the shop, which had much more than just watches."
The president whistles along to Van Morrison's Brown-Eyed Girl while shooting pool with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in Denver, Colorado. The president took great pride in beating the Governor at the bar the Governor founded, says Pete Souza who captured this picture.
Image: "Chief of Staff Denis McDonough came to the Oval Office one afternoon and said to the President, 'let's take a walk.' So they proceeded outside the White House gates to a Starbucks on Pennsylvania Avenue. On the way back, the President stopped to greet street vendor Saied Abedy, who was born in Afghanistan," says Pete Souza.
Image: This photograph went viral when posted on Flickr. Lawrence Jackson captures a young boy face-planting himself onto the sofa in the Oval Office as the president greets his parents -- a departing United States secret service agent and his wife.
Image: Obam talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a lunch with other foreign leaders to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France. "I'm sure they were talking about a subject matter other than D-Day," says photographer Pete Souza.
Image: "Call it the Shake Shack slide. After having lunch with Vice President Biden at a Shake Shack in Washington, DC, the president asked me where he should stand for the photo. Before I could even reply, the president jumped on the counter and slid onto the other side," recalls Pete Souza.
Image: The White Hose staff has a hearty laugh as the president swats a fly that was invading his space in the Oval Office. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House
Image: Amanda Lucidon captures this spontaneous moment as Mrs O hugs family pets Sunny and Bo during a video taping in the Map Room of the White House.
Image: Ever the gentleman, the president helps First Lady Michelle Obama off the stage after she thanked the White House chefs during the State Dinner for France President François Hollande on the South Lawn of the White House. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House
Image: As Obama was about to leave a classroom at Powell Elementary School in Washington, he asks a boy with a stethoscope to check his heartbeat. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House
Image: A great moment captured by Amanda Lucidon of the first lady and daughters Sasha and Malia during their visit to the Great Wall of China.
Image: 'Help me up,' Obama beckons after posing for a photograph with children at the US embassy in Manila, the Philippines. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House
Image: Obama shares a quiet moment with his daughter Sasha during a father and daughter hike at Great Falls, Virginia. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House
Image: Obama shops for gifts with local vendors at a hotel in Naypyitaw, Burma when he finds some earrings he thinks would be good for his daughter Malia. He seeks out a hotel employee to see how they might look. Photograph: Pete Souza/White House