Alyssa Mastromonaco for Marie Claire

Marie Claire USA - May 2013I like shoots at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.  It’s my favorite edifice in DC (the Library of Congress boasts the best interior, by far) and you have to go through White House security to get to it, which makes one feel ever so important.  Marie Claire asked me to photograph Alyssa Mastromonaco, White House deputy chief of staff for operations, and try to get her in her natural environment with a reportagey/day-in-the-life feel.  Unfortunately, actual fly on the wall journalism was not an option.  We were given a set period of time in a set location (not her actual office in the White House) and it turned into an extended action portrait session.     Alyssa MastromonacoThe first thing many subjects ask me when they show up is “what do you want me to do?”  I wanted to convey how Alyssa works, so I asked her if she had any work to do.  She had a very large LV bag with her full of it, so me telling her to get to work was a great start to the shoot, especially because she strikes me as the kind of person who always has important things to be doing and feels better when getting them done.  She spread out on the table with her papers and her tea in a White House paper cup and we both got to work. Alyssa MastromonacoNotice the Blackberry.  The U.S. Government is the only thing keeping RIM alive right now.Alyssa MastromonacoAfter a while, we moved on to formal portraits.Alyssa MastromonacoThen we fake-walked the halls of the EEOB.Alyssa MastromonacoAlyssa had to get back to real work, so we left the EEOB.Alyssa MastromonacoAnd as she swiftly made her way back to the White House just across the way, I crab-walked and backpedaled to get just a few more shots.Alyssa MastromonacoA wave farewell as she enters the White House.  I think she was thrilled to end the shoot.  Believe it or not, DC is full of people who genuinely want to stay out of the lime light. I consider it part of my job to make their brief moments in it as painless as possible.  Usually.