Maybe you move in the upper echelons of society or more accurately in the inner circles of politics. If so the opportunity to get to meet one of the most influential and hard working women of our times would make you yawn. But if you’re like me, then the opportunity to see one of my greatest political Heroes, Hillary Clinton, a woman who has been serving this country since she was First Lady twenty-one years ago, is enough to induce the shakes and a loss of speech.
Secretary Clinton has written a new book, Hard Choices, about her four years as Secretary of State. On Wednesday she was in Seattle at the University Book Store and I was one of thirty people given a press pass, meaning I would be allowed to take photographs of the event. I’ve been to many author events and have even interviewed authors but something of this magnitude was a new experience. Our protocol included arriving at the store 2 hours early, signing in and being given credentials that clearly identified us as press. Our equipment was turned over to the Secret Service in an area specifically for the press, from where we could not remove it until the event was over. They went through it and then brought in a canine unit as well. We were then allowed back into the area after being wanded but could no longer leave the space. As the time for Clinton’s arrival approached the jockeying for position began. With beginner’s luck I staked out the spot at the end of the hallway where Clinton would appear. No one could stand directly in front of me, allowing me to get these great shots.
Because this was a book event, not a political one, there was no question and answer period, just Clinton, smiling and gracious and signing 1,200 books. I took over 300 photos and despite the many that were nothing but a close-up of a Secret Service man and Clinton in the background, I have none that show her without a smile. She also shook hands and spoke to everyone. When it was my turn to get my book I was so nervous I couldn’t say a word but she shook my hand and complimented me on my necklace. I am still smiling as I write this! Given that I hope she becomes the next President of the United States it was one of the highlights of my career.
Here are more photographs from a memorable afternoon: