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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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"A Photojournalist’s Normal Day at the White House" Transcript
Diana Walker:

A normal day at the White House for someone who covers the White House is that you call the night before to a recording, and you find out what the president's plans are. So, you can kind of judge what your day is going to be like.

And you have to be at the White House early and you sit there, and you wait for a photo-op in the Oval Office. We go in, and we crouch down, and we take the picture of the two of them sitting in front of the fireplace that you've seen a million times. And, if you're smart, you turn around and see who else is in the room, and you snap that too, so you have something different with them and then you leave the room. It all lasts maybe 60 seconds.

Then you might have a luncheon to photograph in the East Room or a speech the president's going to make on the South Lawn. That's what a normal day is like.

If you are traveling with the president, you're either on Air Force One or you're on the press plane that's been chartered by the White House, which is paid for by the news organizations. And you go where he goes. You constantly keep your eye on him, especially when he's out in public.

If you're doing behind-the-scenes work, you've put in a request to be with the president at a certain day for a certain something. I'd go in quietly, shoot some pictures and leave.

If I'm doing a cover shoot or something exciting like that, I would bring in an assistant, bring in lights and set it all up. The president would walk in. I would photograph him in a certain environment that I thought out and figured out. And I'd do it for as long as they'd let me do it, as many rolls as I could get off. And when I'd change my film, I'd look away 'cause I was always so afraid someone was going to tell me it was time to leave.

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"A Photojournalist’s Normal Day at the White House"

The Briscoe Center for American History