Paul Ryan and Dick Durbin for the Wall Street Journal

Paul RyanI’ve been photographing these breakfasts lately for the Wall Street Journal.  Two prominent editors (Jerry Seib & David Wessel) invite national politicians to discuss matters of import with selected members of the DC political press corps.  The first of these breakfasts featured Congressman and former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.    Paul Ryan Paul Ryan Paul RyanIt’s part of my job to try to shoehorn in a portrait of the invited politician, and Ryan was a tough one.  I approached the amiable congressman prior to the breakfast and explained that I was with the WSJ and we were hoping to get a portrait- would be be so kind as to give 30 seconds of his time?  Unfortunately, after an hour in the lion’s den, he was not in such a good mood, was running out the door,. and I had to execute my most obnoxious move ever.  I told him I was the best photographer in the world and he definitely wanted me to take his picture and it would cost a mere 15 seconds of his time.  So this is my attempt at being the world’s best photographer in a nasty interior hotel conference room, with no setup, a hand-held speedlite and 15 seconds with an ornery congressman who can turn on a smile with the flip of a switch whenever he so desires.  I thanked him profusely for his time.DURBINSenator Dick Durbin and I had the opposite issue.  I approached him prior to the breakfast to explain the portrait situation and he grumbled something along the lines of “Do we really have to do this?”  But at the end of the breakfast, he was warm and cooperative and gave me about 3 minutes. DURBINThis is what the breakfast setup looks like.  Some of the country’s best political journalists are sitting in these chairs. DURBINIt’s a challenge to get a clean shot of the politicians- there are people and pitchers and papers and microphones all over the damn place. DURBINBut it can be done. DURBIN

One thought

  1. Interesting post. Seems like you can see the hidden frustration behind Ryan’s smile, unless I’m just reading into it too much based on your description. Met Durbin once and he seemed like a genuine guy.

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