Monday, May 28, 2007

Tip O'Neill ~ Former Speaker Of The U.S. House Of Representatives

I was the photographer for Barry University back in the 1970's and '80's when it was still called Barry College. During the twenty or so years that I did their photography what had been a small Catholic girls college admitted its first male students, and then its first black students. Today it's a sizeable and still expanding institution.

This shot of House Speaker Tip O'Neill adressing a graduation class really captures his personality. I wish that back then I'd started getting photos of myself with these famous people, shaking hands or just chatting. We're both from Massachusettes so that gave me a good gambit for starting a short conversation as we shook hands backstage before the graduation ceremonies got underway.

In this shot I was standing fairly close to the stage in the auditorium, using Tri-X film in an old Leica M3 equipped with an 85mm f/2 Nikkor lens.

The intensity of the look on his face matched the forcefulness of his speech. He was a powerful and convincing speaker. He had the audience enthralled. Even though he was a liberal Democrat he managed to find something to say that would appeal to anybody. He was very much against the war in Viet Nam. If he was still around today he'd be making life miserable for George Bush and his Iraq war built on lies and deception. Tip would never have put up with it.

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