Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

The Photograph That Has Everyone Texting Hillary Clinton

Post Updated April 10, 2012: 

From glitter-bombs to meetings inside the White House Situation Room, politicians are prone to becoming Internet memes in this digital age. Hillary Clinton became the latest example last week, when a black-and-white image of the Secretary of State, in stylish shades, looking at her phone went viral through a Tumblr page called Texts From Hillary. Elsewhere, we found companies like Bravo who posted a version of the image on its Facebook page, with  language promoting their reality series, The Real Housewives of D.C. The images are being shared on countless Facebook pages and social media outlets everywhere.

The buzzed-about image was actually taken by Diana Walker on assignment for TIME back in October 2011. In fact, Walker, who worked as TIME’s White House photographer for 20 years under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, was recently awarded the Luce Lifetime Achievement Award for her remarkable contributions to political photography, of which the Clinton picture is just one example. Taken during a weeklong trip with the Secretary of State for a TIME cover story, Walker’s image shows Clinton reading her mobile phone upon departure in a military plane bound for Tripoli, Libya on Oct. 18, 2011. A similar image by Kevin Lamarque of Reuters, who was also on the trip, is being also being used on the Tumblr.

Photograph by Diana Walker for TIME

The original photo that started the meme was taken on October 18, 2011 by Diana Walker at the start of a week long trip through the middle east. In the photo Hillary Clinton checks her PDA, in her sunglasses, upon departure in a military plane from Malta, bound for Tripoli.

Today businesses everywhere benefit from social media’s incredible power to drive traffic to their own web sites, and it’s a vital if not necessary means of distributing information, advertising and entertainment on the web. Diana Walker’s photo is by no means the first image to be used in this way, but it again raises many questions about the ease of appropriation on the Internet. In the case of Texts from Hillary, is Walker’s photograph fair game for political satire? When do you actually cross the line from satire to sharing… to stealing?

On TIME photo’s website and TIME branded social media, we always aim to credit photographers, promote their work and link back to the original source, but today there are no clear rules to follow. (Case in point: we don’t know where all the photos from Texts from Hillary, used in this gallery, originated.) At TIME we established our own standards to treat photographers fairly, but should clearer laws be made? We’d like to hear what you think about this issue in the current age of new social media. Please add your comments below.

If you’re wondering what the Secretary of State thought about the all the buzz surrounding Texts from Hillary, just visit the Tumblr’s creator Adam Smith’s Twitter feed. Today, Hillary Clinton met with the two developers of the web parody, Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith, both Washington-based communications advisers.

Afterward, Clinton posed with Lambe and Smith and even signed a copy of her “Text from Hillary” submission: “Thanks for the many LOLZ Hillary ‘Hillz.”

Text by Feifei Sun, Associate Editor and Paul Moakley, Deputy Photo Editor, TIME.

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.