Recently I had the opportunity to photograph our 42nd president, William Jefferson Clinton. I can’t tell you when, where, how it came together or even who was there. If I did, I’d have to kill you or lose some serious credibility with my sources. Suffice to say it was a small gathering with a short speech, followed by a lot of grip and grin photographs with supporters. The “few words” he spoke killed the audience. I didn’t have the opportunity to check PolitiFact while he spoke but assuming the statistics and facts he quoted are correct, the logic of his conclusions is inescapable. His breadth of knowledge concerning the issues is nothing short of stunning. While he spoke I was the cobra swaying in the basket to his music. He spoke effortlessly and flawlessly to each person as if they were the only other one in the room. The city of Buffalo, New York could simultaneously reduce its deficit and clear its winter streets by hiring Clinton to sell their excess snow to Nunavut.
After the guests had their photographs made, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have mine made with President Clinton. (In case you are counting like me, this is the third American President I’ve been privileged to photograph.) So I as rushed over to stand next to him, he turned to me, looked me directly in the eye and said — nothing. The look on his face said, “I know you know the secrets of the universe and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.” That yearning, five-second look flummoxed me. Since I don’t know any secrets of the universe, I told him what my mother always told me to say in these situations. Say what is in your heart boy. So I said, “Thank you for being our president.” An involuntary, nearly imperceptible surprise crossed his face. We turned to make this picture.