I ate dinner with the Secret Service the other night.  Former President George W Bush attended an intimate dinner with about 12 people and I was there to photograph the event.  So while they ate, I ate with the rest of the staff and the Secret Service.  There were almost 20 of them, of course I only saw 4 of them at any one time.  It is impressive how thorough the Secret Service is.

I was there mostly to take a few quick portraits of everyone with President Bush.  But I also did some documentary photography of his arrival and his meeting everyone.  Former Vice President Dan Quayle was there as well.  This was one of my favorite photos from the evening.  I love how President Bush’s hand is rising out of the darkness and the determination on his face is indicative of his character.


This next photo just made me laugh, so I am sharing it with you.  It was the perfect out of context moment where everyone looked like they were aghast at conversation.  Mr. Quayle looks like he is saying something like “you have got to be kidding me, I can’t believe you said that…” and you might just disregard that as a poorly timed moment in the flux of speech, but then out of the top right hand corner comes the server who has a similar look of surprise and maybe a hint of disgust.  And that seals the deal.  And all of it was a completely begin conversation, I just happen to capture that exact moment where everything came together in an accidental moment that says the opposite of what was really going on.  That is the trick of photography, isn’t it?  It is at best, a half-truth and at worst, an out-right lie.  Because moments are frozen in time and frames are taken out of context, one can never be certain, or trust that what they are seeing is in fact an accurate portrayal of the real world, even if Photoshop is never used.


President Bush is a very gracious man.  I was surprised at how casual and fun he was.  No matter what your political leanings may be, I would be willing to bet that, once you meet him, you would like him very much as a person.  He has a very pleasant demeanor and makes everyone feel important, from his wealthy and well connected dinner guests, to the kitchen staff.  After dinner, he came back to meet the kitchen staff and thank them for the meal.

I always find the moments between the grip and grin photos to be the more interesting moments.  In this photograph, President Bush has just had his picture taken with this chef, and has begun to chat with the rest of the kitchen staff.  I love the expression on the chef’s face and the relaxed and natural smile on President Bush’s face.


Everyone had a great time whenever he was in the room.  He is simply a magnanimous person with an electrifying personality.  I suppose you don’t get elected to be President of the United States without knowing how to light up the room.


My assistant, Rex, snapped this shot.  I’ll leave it to your imagination what he is saying to me.