Sunday, August 23, 2009

Memories of Red Carpet Moments

As I gathered sample images from my portfolio for my new site launch at, so many memories came back of all the dignitaries I've photographed over time: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, Queen Elizabeth II, and many more. I've had great opportunities! One thing that gained me favor with those in the great Red Carpet moments is so simple that many photographers neglect to do it--I made the effort to dress up, choosing not only to represent myself , but also to show respect to those I was to photograph. That respect caught their attention. Here are some of the stories.

When Henry Kissinger walked up the path to the venue, I was off the path in the grass. Mr. Kissinger walked off the path toward me, offered his hand, and introduced himself, "Hello, I am Henry Kissenger."

The first time I got a shot of Margartet Thatcher, I was in a crowd and there was a local college photographer dressed in jeans, shooting like a paparazzo. Mrs. Thatcher had a group surrounding her and I stood back, because it wasn't a good shot and I was waiting for my opportunity. Mrs. Thatcher stopped the conversation with the crowd, turned to me, and said, "would you like a photograph?" I said, "yes ma'am, I would." The crowd parted, and everyone knew it was my time to accept her invitation.

The second time I was assigned to photograph Mrs. Thatcher, I was specifically told for the assignment, "don't dress up for this." My thoughts were that I represent myself first, and that people deserve my respect. As I showed up, Mrs. Thatcher was in the luncheon with local dignitaries and I came walking up. Her assistant saw me and said in his warm Irish accent, "you're the smartest photographer I've seen," meaning I was nicely dressed. This exchange helped open the door and establish a nice rapport with them. Mrs. Thatcher got into the carriage, she leaned forward and gave me her wave.

I had special Secret Service clearance to do the shoot for 2007 visit of the Queen. We were told we could be in one spot and one spot only, but I've always held the theory that you should shoot for the stars, and be grateful for the moon. So, I negotiated with the Secret Service for more freedom inside the location. There was an imaginary line that they wanted us to observe, but as negotiating goes, they ended up asking me what I was planning to do and I wound up spearheading for the whole group of photographers. I've learned that in some situations, if you can negotiate, you get more freedom, and as long as you don't violate that, you get allowances. Like when I was behind a Secret Service Agent and I leaned over his shoulder to get a better shot, I quietly said to him, "I'm over your left shoulder," and avoided death by Secret Service Agent! I have had a lot of wonderful opportunities and many more stories that have made my career to this date a blast, with each new opportunity a great adventure! I look forward to each new day and all that only God knows what it holds.