Sunday, February 05, 2006

To know her is to love her

I got a call from my friend Jim Kukar who was editor of Miami Magazine at the time. He wanted to check out my schedule so he could set up an appointment for me to photograph "the next state's attorney for Dade County". We set up a time for a couple mornings later, but I asked him how he had any inkling at all as to who it would be. I'd read in the paper that there wasn't even a "short list" of potential candidates as yet. "Don't worry" he replied, "She's the one who'll receive the appointment." He described her as a "young female attorney who worked at a downtown law firm". This was like 30+ years ago when very few women were coming out of law schools at all, let alone being appointed to high office at a young age. He assured me that she was more than qualified, "a brilliant woman!"

A couple of days later I dressed in suit and tie, drove downtown, and parked the car. When I got up to her office I was a few minutes early but the receptionist ushered me in to be greeted at the door by a tall woman, nearly as tall as I was. I explained that I wanted to get an assortment of shots because I really had no idea of how big a story this would be or how many pictures we'd use, and it was always a good idea to have them on file anyway. I told her that I'd be there at most 10 or 15 minutes. I shot available light with a pair of M Leicas with 35, 50 and 90mm lenses. I got some shots of her sitting at her desk and some tight head shots as well, then wewent into the law library and I shot some of her picking out a book, looking like she was reading a book, and some more head shots with the slightly out of focus books in the background. All the while we chatted about local politics, who was doing what, that sort of thing, and after perhaps 15 minutes we shook hands, said goodbye and I thanked her for her time. Jim liked the photos, ordered several off the contacts, and I delivered the prints a couple of days later. The Miami Herald announced that a young unknown female attorney, Ms. Janet Reno had been appointed the new state's attorney for Dade County.

Eventually, of course, she ended up becoming the attorney general of the United States. My clients over the years have included Barry College, the City of North Miami, Congressman Bill Lehman and several other political figures and organizations. Janet was always making appearances and speaking at various functions. I seemed to always be there photographing her. I wish I'd started trying to get pictures of myself with various famous people years before I did, because I only have a few snapshots showing me photographing her at one event from years ago. Then I got the 15mm lens and started my current project, with me in the photograph. I've got plenty of photos that I've taken that include her though, spanning her career from unknown to retired Attorney General. This shot was in May, 2005. The City of North Miami had just held elections and Janet was there to swear in our newly elected mayor, Kevin Burns. I've still got my hair and Janet still has nice legs!


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