With just a day to spare, the White House has just released its photographic look back at 2014. Curated by the director and chief White House photographer Pete Souza, the collection of over 100 images was composed from his own work and the work of his staff: Amanda Lucidon, David Lienemann, Chuck Kennedy, and Lawrence Jackson.
While there are a handful of photos of important news events of the year — like Obama meeting with Vladimir Putin, or debating the administration's policy on Syria — the chronological list is heavy on behind-the-scenes material. It features plenty of personal moments between the President, the First Lady, and even the family of some of his staffers ("the President loves babies," Souza writes).
"The President loves babies."
In addition, every frame is captioned with some contextual information from whomever was behind the lens at the time. It's both an impressive display of the photo staff's familiarity with the President — especially Souza, who has photographed Obama since his days as a Senator — as well as a showcase of the exclusive access that has drawn ire from the rest of the general press in recent years.
- "The President mimics a middle-school student overcome with emotion at meeting him during an 'Hour of Code' event to honor Computer Science Education Week at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
- "This was a photograph that went viral when we posted it on Flickr. Lawrence Jackson captured a young boy face-planting himself onto the sofa in the Oval Office as the President greeting his parents — a departing United States Secret Service agent and his wife." (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
- "You gotta love Bill Murray. The actor had been invited to the White House along with other cast members of 'The Monuments Men' for a movie screening in the Family Theater of the White House. Prior to the screening, the President was to greet some of cast members in the Diplomatic Reception Room. A White House staff person had told Murray where to stand, meaning before the greet. But when the President walked into the room, Murray stayed put, saying 'they told me to stand here.'" (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
- "David Lienemann captured the filming of a scene from the HBO show 'Veep' with the real Vice President and the TV Vice President, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, near the gate at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington, D.C." (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
- "The President lifts the daughter of a departing staff member in the Oval Office." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
- "Call it the Shake Shack slide. As he is wont to do, the President normally does a group photo with restaurant staff when he stops for lunch or dinner somewhere. After having lunch with Vice President Biden at a Shake Shack in Washington, D.C., 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. The Vice President soon followed." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
- "The President sits for a 3D portrait being produced by the Smithsonian Institution. There were so many cameras and strobe lights flashing but the end result was kind of cool. See the video at this link: http://1.usa.gov/1zhPtAf." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)