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Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
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"My Favorite President" Transcript
Wally McNamee:

In 1973, at the height of Watergate, Richard Nixon was engaged in a program to try and go out and be with the public to convince them that everything they were reading about Watergate was not true. On this occasion, he went to speak to a convention in Washington. To show up at this Washington hotel and have the presidential podium set up in front of this electronic American flag was like a dream come true. A photographer really could not imagine a better setting. And one of the pictures from this take ended up on the cover of Newsweek. However, when it came time for me to choose a picture that I liked best from the take, I ultimately chose this one even though it breaks a cardinal photographic rule in that the subject has his eyes closed. And I struggled with this, and I consulted with my wife and she said, "It's easy. It's the picture of him with his eyes closed." And she was right. Nixon, he was my favorite President because there was always something going on. And he just looked like the cat who swallowed the canary.

(Audio excerpt from The Littlefield Society Symposium, March 28, 2003, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas)

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