21 Candid Photos Of U.S. Presidents Caught With Their Guard Down

Published October 9, 2017
Updated March 12, 2024

Wonderfully weird photos of presidents who may not have realized there were cameras around.

Reagan Funny Face
Ronald Reagan wags his hands and makes faces at reporters attending a dinner for the White House News Photographers Association after asking whether the gesture would be kept "off the record" and saying he'd waited years for the opportunity. May 19, 1983.Bettmann/Getty Images

Lbj Dog
Lyndon Johnson is interrupted by his pet dog Yuki jumping up on the desk while he prepares to sign a meat inspection bill. 1967. Bettmann/Getty Images

Bush Bunny
George W. Bush pauses to embrace a person dressed as the Easter Bunny during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House. March 24, 2008.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Arnie Hw
George H.W. Bush takes a toboggan ride with Arnold Schwarzenegger at Camp David. 1991.Jean-Louis Atlan/Sygma/Getty Images

Hw Aerobics
George H.W. Bush participates in an aerobics exercise class at a YMCA. 1980. Gene Del Biano/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Reagan Sweats
Ronald Reagan wears sweatpants aboard Air Force One. Date unspecified.Wikimedia Commons

Nixon Face
Richard Nixon shouts gleefully after he was nominated as the GOP nominee for president. July 27, 1960. Bettmann/Getty Images

Truman Calisthenics
A stickler for keeping in shape, Harry Truman, "coach" of the Truman Athletic League organized by the newsmen who covered his trip, leads the club in calisthenics aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on the 12-day cruise from Rio de Janeiro. 1947. Bettmann/Getty Images

Coolidge Headdress
Calvin Coolidge wears the feathered headdress given to him by the Sioux during a celebration at Deadwood, South Dakota. 1927. Bettmann/Getty Images

Presidential Photographs
Gerald R. Ford campaigns from atop a circus elephant. 1950.Bettmann/Getty Images

Teddy Elephant
Theodore Roosevelt poses beside a slain elephant during a hunt in Kenya's Meru Boma district. 1909.Bettmann/Getty Images

Harding Tuba
After learning he has been selected as the Republican Party's nominee for president, Warren G. Harding joins the band at his home in Marion, Ohio, playing the tuba. 1920. Bettmann/Getty Images

Kennedy Halloween
Halloween fun in the Oval Office as Caroline and John Jr. play "trick or treat" with their father, John F. Kennedy. October 1963.U.S. National Archives

Clinton Cat
Bill Clinton walks with his cat, Socks, on his shoulders. Date unspecified.U.S. National Archives

Carter Peanut
Jimmy Carter stands in a pile of peanuts at the Carter family peanut warehouse in Plains, Georgia. At the time, Carter was taking time off from campaigning as a presidential candidate. 1976.Bettmann/Getty Images

Ford Cheerleaders
Gerald Ford walks with the Kilgore College Rangerettes in Kilgore, Texas, during the Texas presidential primary. Date unspecified.Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty Images

Teddy Camel
Theodore Roosevelt and his companion, Baron Rudolf V. Stalin Pacha, ride camels in the Khartoum Desert of Sudan. 1909.Bettmann/Getty Images

Blindfold Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson is blindfolded so he can draw the first capsule for induction in the World War I draft lottery. 1917. Bettmann/Getty Images

Reagan Bonzo
Ronald Reagan with his costars Diana Lynn and Bonzo, in a publicity still from the 1951 comedy, Bedtime for Bonzo.Bettmann/Getty Images

Coolidge Gym
Calvin Coolidge and Speaker of the House Fredrick Gillett exercise in the Congressional gym. 1923. Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Lbj Cattle
During a press barbecue at his Ranch, Lyndon Johnson shows off his riding skills as he cuts a cow from the herd. November 4, 1964. Bettmann/Getty Images

Dressed in pristine suits, coached by a team of handlers, and constantly aware that there are cameras around, U.S. presidents are almost always the very picture of poise when they're in front of a lens.

This, of course, makes it all the more striking when some lucky photographer catches the president in a candid moment that reveals just how human these people are after all.

From Ronald Reagan in sweatpants to Teddy Roosevelt on safari, above are some of the most unusual presidential photos ever taken.

Facts About American Presidents
History Uncovered Podcast
Episode 44: The Secret Lives Of U.S. Presidents
Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a champion wrestler or that Lyndon Johnson was a fervent practical joker? These are the most fascinating facts and lesser-known stories about America's presidents.

Next, discover the single most fascinating fact about each and every U.S. president. Then, read about the strangest presidential assassination attempts of all time.

Gabe Paoletti
Gabe Paoletti is a New York City-based writer and a former Editorial Intern at All That's Interesting. He holds a Bachelor's in English from Fordham University.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Paoletti, Gabe. "21 Candid Photos Of U.S. Presidents Caught With Their Guard Down." AllThatsInteresting.com, October 9, 2017, https://allthatsinteresting.com/weird-presidential-photos. Accessed April 20, 2024.