President Obama has celebrated being named Time's Person of the Year 2012 by sharing cherished moments of his life.

In never-before-seen images, captured by White House photographer Pete Souza, the US leader abandons politics to give fans the father, husband and friend rarely seen in public.

The intimate snaps posted online show him bonding with his family and having fun with friends.

In one image, taken around the White House, the president pretends to be caught in an imaginary spider web while playing with one of this staffer's children, who is dressed up as Spider-man.

Another image shows Obama sharing a tender daughter-and-father moment with his eldest girl, Malia, on the swings outside the Oval Office.

"He's basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind of new America - a new demographic, a new cultural America that he is now the symbol of," Time editor Rick Stengel said as he awarded Obama the accolade.

"He won re-election despite a higher unemployment rate than anybody's had to face in 70 years. He's the first Democrat to win two consecutive terms with over 50 percent of the vote. That's something we haven't seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt."

Obama was also chosen as Time's Person of the Year in 2008 - the year he was first elected to high office.

Young at Heart: Barack Obama plays with the son of a White House staffer in the Outer Oval Office
Young at Heart: Barack Obama plays with the son of a White House staffer in the Outer Oval OfficePete Souza/White House
Behind Every Good Man: Obama and the first lady, who have been married for 20 years, look out over the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan
Behind Every Good Man: Obama and the first lady, who have been married for 20 years, look out over the Chicago skyline and Lake MichiganPete Souza/White House
Daddy's girls: President Obama cuddles daughters Sasha and Malia prior to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte
Daddy's girls: President Obama cuddles daughters Sasha and Malia prior to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in CharlottePete Souza/White House
Content: Obama prepares to finally relax after attending 10 inaugural balls and a very long day which included being sworn in as president
Content: Obama prepares to finally relax after attending 10 inaugural balls and a very long day which included being sworn in as presidentPete Souza/White House
Team player: Obama takes part in a water gun fight with daughter Sasha during her 10th birthday party at Camp David in Maryland
Team player: Obama takes part in a water gun fight with daughter Sasha during her 10th birthday party at Camp David in MarylandPete Souza/White House
Friendship: Obama shares a joke with vice-president Joe Biden
Friendship: Obama shares a joke with vice-president Joe BidenPete Souza/White House
He got moves: Newly re-elected president throws some shapes with Michelle during the Governors Ball in the White House
He got moves: Newly re-elected president throws some shapes with Michelle during the Governors Ball in the White HousePete Souza/White House
Heart-to-heart: Obama spends quality time with his teenage daughter Malia
Heart-to-heart: Obama spends quality time with his teenage daughter MaliaPete Souza/White House
High five: A young fan cannot contain his excitement after meeting the president at Andrews Air Force Base
High five: A young fan cannot contain his excitement after meeting the president at Andrews Air Force BasePete Souza/White House
Prankster: White House executive Marvin Nicholson weighs himself, unaware of a bit of cheeky sabotage by the president
Prankster: White House executive Marvin Nicholson weighs himself, unaware of a bit of cheeky sabotage by the presidentPete Souza/White House