When you reflect on 2016, you can't help but think about the Obamas and the mark they'll be leaving on the country when President Obama leaves office in January. Of course, it's all the more bittersweet given who will be moving into the White House in their stead. So take a moment and consider the first family's importance — and get some visual aids to help you do so. Luckily the family has been highly documented, so finding material will not be an issue. I've put together every family portrait of the Obamas while in office, ranked.
The family is rightfully the subject of each photo — and I'd want their Christmas cards even if Obama weren't president — but the most remarkable part of the photos are the background. The family's presence in that house is, as Michelle put it at the Democratic National Convention, a pretty huge symbol for progress. "I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn," Michelle told the convention-goers. You literally see that in these pictures.
Now that the family will be moving on to civilian life, President Obama has said that he will remain engaged on the issues that matter to him, and that he won't hesitate to speak up if President-elect Donald Trump threatens American "core values." But he will no longer be doing that from a building that is home to so much of the country's history. Take a long look at these portraits — they'll need to get you through these next four years. They're ranked for your enjoyment.
3) It's The Holiday Season Family Portrait
This portrait was taken in the Oval Office just before Christmas 2011 by Pete Souza, who has worked as the official White House photographer since 2009. There's garland in the background that gives away the time of year the photo was taken. The girls, Michelle, and the president all look stunning.
2) The Dogs Were An Adorable Addition
Here Malia's braces are off, but Sasha has them on in this photo also shot by Souza in April 2015. The family's dogs also make an appearance after their absence was talked about in the 2011 shot. This pic was taken on Easter Sunday with the trees in full bloom.
1) The First Portrait Of Your Favorite First Family
This is the original, and arguably the best. It's not the celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz that makes it come in at No. 1, but you can guess that posing with her was quite the experience for the first family (Obama already had back in 2004). What makes this tops, though, is the girls — and the president — looking so young. This was before a tough eight years, and it shows how far they, and the country as a whole, have come.
Going forward, we might not have official family portraits of the Obamas, but we will be able to look at these and other photos of their time in office to remind ourselves of the huge role they've played in making the United States the place it is today.