Tag Archives: First Lady

Paul Ryan: All Pumped Up for His Closeup

When TIME named Paul Ryan a runner-up in the 2011 Person of the Year issue, many were familiar with his proposed budget, but few knew that the Wisconsin Congressman stayed fit with the now best-selling P90X workout plan. (Ryan’s father and grandfather both died of a heart attack.) In fact, it was Ryan’s fitness regime — and Herculean strength on all things fiscal — that inspired this workout-themed sitting for Person of the Year. One of these portraits, photographed by Gregg Segal, appears in the Oct. 22, 2012, issue.

Tony Horton, the stand-up comedian turned P90X creator, says the rigorous workout has been boosted from both sides of the aisle. “I think Paul Ryan’s been very good for P90X, as much or more so as Michelle Obama,” he says. “I’ve worked with the First Lady and her Let’s Move campaign. Some of the Secret Service came up to me and said, ‘Hey man, we’re really loving the P90X.’ I’m well aware that they’re using it in the White House.”

According to Horton, you don’t need a lot of equipment to get fit. Ryan likes to use weights, but they aren’t a necessity. “You need the human body, Mother Earth and Sir Isaac Newton’s law of gravity,” Horton says.

TIME asked Horton to suggest a get-fit regimen that could be implemented alongside the presidential campaign but still leave time for careful consideration of the issues. He recommended an upper-body exercise, a cardiovascular interval exercise, a core exercise and a leg exercise. (For further details — and diagrams! — check the Oct. 22 issue.)

Confusing the electorate is unwise, but according to Horton, confusing the muscles is a plus. This involves changing the routine often so muscles don’t get accustomed to any one exercise. To get the full benefit of this regimen, you’ve got to make like the party and diversify. “Do a different push-up every time,” suggests Horton. “Add kenpo karate or jumping jacks or whatever on that second move. On the crunches, modify your position to engage the abs or core directly. You can do squats with your feet wide, your feet narrow. It’s a workout that might also give you a bounce. As few as two rounds of that will release norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin.”

Perfect for when the poll numbers aren’t going your way.

Read more about Horton on TIME Healthland and see more photos of Ryan on Swampland.

Segal is a Los Angeles–based photographer. See more of his work here.

Luscombe is an editor-at-large at TIME.

Pete Souza’s Portrait of a Presidency

The long view of history tends to be the judge of a presidency. As we approach what President Obama hopes will be the midpoint of his tenure in the Oval Office, it is too early to draw conclusions on his legacy as Commander in Chief. What we do know is that Obama’s first term has been a historic one: the first African American to hold the county’s highest office, Obama and his Administration have battled a recession, passed health care reform and legislation to end the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, formally ended the war in Iraq and brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

Through adversity and triumph, public victories and private setbacks, chief official White House photographer Pete Souza and his team of photographers have relentlessly documented the actions of the President, the First Lady and the Vice President since Obama took office in early 2009.

As the President runs for a second term, LightBox asked Souza to reflect on his time photographing Obama and share an edit of his favorite images that he and his staff made during the President’s first term; the photographs offer a fascinatingly candid insight into the life of the President while painting a portrait of Barack Obama the man, husband and father.

“I tried to, in putting together this edit, not only to show some of the high points or low points of his presidency thus far, but pictures that help people understand what he’s like, not only as a President but as a human being,” Souza tells TIME. “And how he relates to other people, how he relates to his family.”

Souza’s process is aided by his long-standing working relationship with Obama — one that precedes the presidency. They met on Jan. 3, 2005, Obama’s first day in the Senate. For Souza, then a staff photographer at the Chicago Tribune‘s Washington bureau, it was the first day of a yearlong assignment to document the new Senator’s time in office.

As the assignment evolved, Souza — who had worked as a White House staff photographer during President Reagan’s second term — began recognizing something special about the Senator. An inkling of things to come, or potential for the future. He began looking for moments that would prove valuable in the course of history, photographs that would define Obama’s early years to those who only knew his legacy.

“I was looking for things that I knew that if he ever became President you would never see again,” he says. “[Obama was] walking down a sidewalk in Moscow in 2005 and no one recognized him. I realized that if he ever became President, you would never, ever see a photograph like that. The odds of becoming President are obviously pretty slim, but I knew he had the potential. And you can’t say that about too many people.”

Souza continued to photograph Senator Obama, who quickly became presidential-candidate Obama and then Democratic-nominee Obama. With Obama’s 2008 election victory, Souza returned to the White House as chief official White House photographer and director of the White House Photography Office.

The photographs that Souza has taken extend the lineage of White House photography that began in the 1960s, first in a somewhat scattered way during John F. Kennedy’s Administration and then more officially with Yoichi Okamoto, Lyndon B. Johnson’s photographer. Okamoto is considered the first photographer to capture the presidency with an eye for history. Souza is quick to acknowledge and praise his work and that of others who have followed, including David Kennerly (Ford), Bob McNeely (Clinton) and Eric Draper (George W. Bush).

An all-digital workflow is one thing that differentiates Souza’s work from the majority of his predecessors. Although he wasn’t the one to move the process to digital — Draper, Bush’s photographer, made the switch from film to digital — Souza made the first official portrait of an incoming President with a digital camera. The Obama Administration has understood the insatiable appetite for imagery that the digital age has wrought and embraces Flickr as a means of disseminating presidential photography.

The Administration encourages sharing behind-the-scenes photos now, he says. “[It wanted] to establish a way to become more transparent than any other Administration, so every month, we upload a new batch of behind-the-scenes photos. The response has been overwhelming.”

But alongside the ease brought by the digital era came one difficulty: the Presidential Records Act prohibits Souza and his team from deleting any photographs. ”One of our bigger challenges is just the storage of all these images,” he says, noting the immense difficulty the team will experience moving millions of digital files to the National Archives at the end of Obama’s tenure.

Souza’s work with the President follows in the golden age of photojournalism’s best traditions, when photographers working for magazines like LIFE established relationships and spent inordinate amounts of time shooting beautifully crafted images of public figures.

“I spend a lot of time with [the President], around him, on vacations, sometimes on weekends, depending on what’s going on. He’s used to me being around,” Souza says. As his friend P.F. Bentley described it, “When the President is on, I’m on. And when the President’s off, I’m still on.”

Souza recalls one meeting that he missed because it had been rescheduled unbeknownst to him. “I was a little upset with the President’s secretary for not telling me that they had moved the meeting up, and [the President] heard us talking and he said, ‘What are you talking about? You were in that meeting.’ He’s so used to me being there that he thought that I had been in the meeting that I wasn’t even in. So I took that as a compliment.”

His access to Obama’s inner circle and day-to-day routine stems from the trust he built during their relationship prior to the presidency. “I’m there to seriously document his presidency. I’m not looking for cheap shots, and I think that’s the kind of relationship any White House photographer should have with the President they’re covering,” he says. “That they have a level of access and trust that will lead to important photographs for history.”

Souza is aware of the significance of the photographs he and his team are taking, but he’s also focused on capturing the small and incidental moments that make the Obama Administration unique. “There are days that you certainly think about the importance of what’s taking place — you’re serving an important role in visually documenting this period of time for history,” he says. “But at the same time, a lot of the pictures that tell you a lot about a President are not [made] during those times. They’re when he’s having a private moment with one of his daughters, or when something unexpected happens that may not be, you know, important in terms of history’s sake.”

“I think that’s what keeps you on your toes. You never know when those moments are gonna occur, because they don’t always occur when big things are happening,” he says. The image of Obama playing in the snow with Sasha and Malia is a testament to Souza’s approach. The photograph is not simply of the President but of a moment shared between a father and his daughters.

These personal images round out Souza’s portrait of the President and give it greater depth. While preparing this edit for LightBox, he acknowledged that it was hard to present what a presidency is about in just a handful of pictures. “I don’t gravitate toward any singular image right now,” he says. “I try to look at a body of work, and so I’m proud of this edit that I submitted. To me, it’s all these photographs together which tell you something about this man, this President, and I guess to a certain extent, about me and what I think is important.”

Although Souza’s edit comprises more than 100 images, it is by no means a comprehensive record of Obama’s time in office. “I’m sure that I left out some important moments,” he says. “I don’t think I included anything from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, and that’s historic in itself — he won the Nobel Peace Prize. But it just didn’t fit in with the series of pictures that I wanted to present.”

Says Souza of the President: “He has certainly created history just by being the first African-American President. Hopefully in future generations, we’ll soon have a woman President or a Hispanic President, and it won’t matter that much. But I think that if you’d ask him, he wants to be remembered for the things that he’s done.”

For Souza, it’s difficult at this point to reflect on the last four years and the photographs he and his team have made. “One of the difficult things, doing this every day, is having a chance to really sit back and take it all in. Putting these photos together helped that a little bit,” he says. “You’re a little bit overwhelmed about everything that happened in four years, because a lot of stuff has happened. I hope there will come a time where, when I’m not doing this job any longer, I’ll be able to sit back and reflect on everything that he’s been through and everything that I’ve been through.”

An exhibition of Souza’s work, The Obama White House — Photographs by Pete Souza, is on view at the Leica Gallery in New York City from Oct. 5 to Nov. 10, 2012.

Behind the Cover: Diana Walker on Photographing Hillary Clinton

Diana Walker spent seven days in just as many countries with Hillary Clinton for this week’s cover story (available to subscribers here). But the cover image itself was taken in about five minutes, with just the light from a window, at Clinton’s desk at the State Department in Washington yesterday morning.

Photograph by Diana Walker for TIME

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, October 26, 2011.

“She was at work at her desk, and I said, ‘Madame Secretary, look this way,’” says Walker, who has been photographing Clinton since January 1993. “She looked up at me, and then I said, ‘And now out the window.’ And bingo, that was the picture.”

Walker, who worked as TIME’s White House photographer for 20 years under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, says she prepared for her whirlwind week abroad with the Secretary of State in the same manner she did with former commanders in chief. “It’s not dissimilar,” she says. “You ride in the vans, jump out and run as fast you can to photograph her arriving. Then you line up and you’re herded into a room where the Secretary is meeting with whomever, and you make your pictures and then turn around and run out. And then you go to the next spot.”

In addition to standard press access during the trip, which began in Malta on Oct. 17 and ended in Uzbekistan on Oct. 23, Walker was also given time behind the scenes with Clinton, who she says doesn’t get enough credit for her “terrific” sense of humor—a characteristic she discovered while photographing the then-First Lady for TIME in 1997.

“I got in her limousine, and she was talking to her then chief of staff, laughing and having the best time,” Walker recalls. “That’s the image (below) we led with that year, in part, I think, because the editors were so impressed that it was another Hillary that they hadn’t seen. In public, she was much more straight-laced. In private, she could really kick back. I’m always eager to show that.”

Diana Walker

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton laughing it up with her chief of staff Melanne Verveer as they were returning to White House after delivering a speech at the University of Maryland in 1997.

That convivial atmosphere was around on this recent trip too, where Clinton often jokingly teased Walker for not keeping up. “Here I am lumbering along to catch up, while she has so much energy,” Walker says. “She wears me out! But it’s the most wonderful wearing out. She’s totally focused. But even with that laser focus, she has time to be funny and charming.”

Diana Walker was TIME’s White House photographer for 20 years, where she captured intimate moments with five presidents. You can see more work in her book The Bigger Picture: Thirty Years of Portraits and in our coverage of Steve Jobs

Feifei Sun is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @Feifei_Sun or on Facebook

MORE: Read TIME managing editor Rick Stengel’s exclusive Q + A with Hillary Clinton.