Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 25, 2014

Posts in "Behind the Photo"

July 15, 2014

Small Victories

pelosi boehner006 071014 1 Small Victories

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Although it seems there’s not much to these pictures, it is a major victory in the effort to photograph the back-to-back weekly news conferences of Speaker John A. Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the Hill.

The House leaders normally host a press conference every Thursday in Studio A of the Capitol Visitor Center. They speak alone from a lectern and it normally looks the same every week, except for what they’re wearing.

Pelosi’s avail is held first and usually wraps up at about 11:20 a.m., to allow some time before Boehner’s which starts at 11:30. As I was setting up a shot of her walking out, which wasn’t shaping up to be much, I realized Pelosi was ending late and Boehner would be there at any moment. I thought there was a good chance of them passing each other.

It was a long shot because if they did pass each other in the hall they would be with their respective entourages. The picture would have too many people.

I left the studio as Pelosi was still taking questions and went to the entrance of the green room, which members enter before proceeding to the studio. Boehner arrived on time. This was a good sign, because he was in the room by himself. I knew Pelosi would pass him on her way out. I figured they would at least say “hi” to each other.

Boehner was looking in the mirror and straightening himself out in preparation to go on stage. His security detail and staffers didn’t close the door or get in the way as I positioned myself closer. Pelosi finished up and entered the green room. She was preceded by two aids, who saw me and cleared out of the way.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Boehner and Pelosi exchanged some pleasantries and I was able to make two usable frames. I was pleased to get a picture of the current and former House speaker in a candid moment together. Usually you only see leadership of opposing parties together in ceremonial settings.

It turned out to to be a good idea to try for the picture, but I got a big assist from a few staffers who realized a nice exchange was happening and allowed me to capture it.

May 28, 2014

Behind the Photo: Bill Clark’s Favorite Photos

Nevada Reid 07 110110 Behind the Photo: Bill Clarks Favorite Photos

Click on photo to enlarge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In this installment of our “Behind the Photo” series, photographer Bill Clark discusses his favorite photos he’s taken over years on Capitol Hill and on the road.

Clark describes the award-winning photo he took in Las Vegas while waiting for a Harry Reid rally to start. “Michelle Obama was coming to campaign for Harry Reid and she was running a few hours late.” Everyone, including journalists who came to cover the event had “nothing to do,” he said. Clark spotted a few women posing with a TIME magazine cover with the first lady on the cover. “I just started taking pictures trying to amuse myself waiting for the main event to happen,” Clark said.

Clark talked about a photo project where he followed Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., from a week before he was elected all the way through his first year in Congress. “It’s a great way to get to know a member of Congress,” Clark said. The toughest part of a project like this one, he said, is “just getting it off the ground.” The biggest challenge is getting the member’s press person on board and getting top staffers to OK the project. “Just having the cooperation from the start” is key, Clark said. “I don’t follow him every day,” he explained. “Every week, or two weeks I’ll find and event or a hearing he’s participating in and try to grab a photo.”

Full story

May 21, 2014

Behind the Photo: Tom Williams’ Favorite Photos

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Representative John Boehner, R-Ohio, smokes a cigarette after a news conference in Sterling, Va., on September 23, 2010. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In this installment of our “Behind the Photo” series, photographer Tom Williams discusses his favorite photos he’s taken over years on Capitol Hill.

Williams has made a tradition of sending friends, via social media, archive photos that he’s captured from moments around the hill on their birthdays. “I just had all these pictures accumulated that maybe I got around to email the person, maybe I didn’t,” Williams said. “Pictures of staff and pictures of the reporters are, a lot of times, the best pictures you got out of the event. … So when someone’s birthday comes up, that’s a great way to get that image out there.”

Williams reveals the story behind his award-winning photo of Gabrielle Giffords coming back to congress the first time after recovering from an attack where gunman shot her in the head. “There were some cops accumulating there, giving me a really hard time about being there,” Williams explained. According to Williams, he told the Capitol Police officer “I’m not going down that hallway.”

Full story

May 1, 2014

Behind the Photo: Bill Clark

 Behind the Photo: Bill Clark

Bill Clark

Photo Editor Bill Clark’s career in photojournalism began in the late 1980s, when he started as a photo researcher for US News & World Report. His first staff photographer job was at the Marietta Daily Journal. He then moved to the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia and soon became the chief photographer at the Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va. He has been covering Washington, D.C., since 2000 and he has been a Roll Call staff member since 2006. The National Press Photographers Association, White House News Photographers Association, Virginia News Photographers Association and Pictures of the Year International have given Bill numerous awards for his photography.

In the second installment of our series, “Behind the Photo,” Clark talks about his editorial judgment on when and where he takes photos. Clark describes how he can catch congressmen outside of planned appearances by being strategically placed on the Hill.

In talking about his work at Roll Call, Clark says that the photography team has been allowed to “step back” and cover the Hill “as a community.”

“We can take a lot of chances,” Clark says.

Watch Bill Clark discuss his editorial judgment and what he does when a congressman stumbling down the steps is caught on camera.

Full story

Behind the Photo: Tom Williams

 Behind the Photo: Tom Williams

Tom Williams

Tom Williams has been covering Washington for Roll Call since 2000 and is an award-winning photographer. Since he started at Roll Call, he has covered a number of major stories, including races for the White House and Senate seats, the Gulf Coast oil spill and national party conventions. He has been interested and involved in photography since he was a teenager and he used his friends and family, especially his grandfather, as his subjects to photograph. Full story

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