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. Next, we will show you some of the best pictures of presidents who may have not realized there were cameras around!
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.
Lyndon Johnson is interrupted by his pet dog Yuki jumping up on the desk while he prepares to sign a meat inspection bill. 1967.
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.
George H.W. Bush takes a toboggan ride with Arnold Schwarzenegger at Camp David. 1991.
George H.W. Bush participates in an aerobics exercise class at a YMCA. 1980.
Ronald Reagan wears sweatpants aboard Air Force One. Date unspecified.
Richard Nixon shouts gleefully after he was nominated as the GOP nominee for president. July 27, 1960.
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.
Calvin Coolidge wears the feathered headdress given to him by the Sioux during a celebration at Deadwood, South Dakota. 1927.
Gerald R. Ford campaigns from atop a circus elephant. 1950.
Theodore Roosevelt poses beside a slain elephant during a hunt in Kenya’s Meru Boma district. 1909.
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.
Halloween fun in the Oval Office as Caroline and John Jr. play “trick or treat” with their father, John F. Kennedy. October 1963.
Bill Clinton walks with his cat, Socks, on his shoulders. Date unspecified.
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.
Gerald Ford walks with the Kilgore College Rangerettes in Kilgore, Texas, during the Texas presidential primary. Date unspecified.
Theodore Roosevelt and his companion, Baron Rudolf V. Stalin Pacha, ride camels in the Khartoum Desert of Sudan. 1909.
Woodrow Wilson is blindfolded so he can draw the first capsule for induction in the World War I draft lottery. 1917.
Ronald Reagan with his costars Diana Lynn and Bonzo, in a publicity still from the 1951 comedy, Bedtime for Bonzo.
Calvin Coolidge and Speaker of the House Fredrick Gillett exercise in the Congressional gym. 1923.