There are many fun elements to my job at The Washingtonian, but one of the best is working on our monthly "behind the scenes" photo feature. It's a thrill to go to the places we get to go, and to be able to take readers there, too. Also, the process makes me feel like I'm back in television, because it is principally a visual project, and the photographer, Ron Blunt, is my collaborator (along with photo editor David Hicks). In television, that's what producers and videographers do in the field all the time - they operate as a team. Working in television is, at its best, about collaboration. So, it's fun to have a piece of that in the magazine biz, too.
Ron is a specialist in architectural photography. Be sure to visit his website: RON BLUNT. HIs technique is to take several photos of the same scene and then layer them to create lavish texture in the final print.
A ways back I worked for a magazine, Time, and it's when Time and Newsweek were the kings of their domain. The job had power, influence and loads of perks. But, what I found, is that on most of my assignments, even though they were challenging and exciting, it was me on my own, whether traveling on the McGovern campaign, road-tripping with Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden on a campus tour, meeting up with Warren Beatty in his hotel room, chasing a runaway Martha Mitchell to the Westchester Country Club, pursuing teenage runaways at the Port Authority, and so on. There wasn't a crew with me. It was just me, and often lonely, which is the way of many magazine assignments. With television, you are never alone. It's the same on a "Behind the Scenes" shoot.
Yesterday Ron and I were in a very swanky hotel room, setting the stage for a sexy photo, that will appear in a later issue and with pitch perfect relevance. The shoot took five hours, was sometimes perplexing but was never dull. In the past we've gone to the private bar in the German Embassy, aka "The Berlin Bar," the 19th Street office that was Teddy Roosevelt's bedroom, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private dining room, the conservation lab at the National Archives, and deep into the bowels of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. (Unfortunately, in some instances, our website links only to text, not to the photos).
In the issue that will be out next week, we go behind the scenes in Washington Nationals stadium. How timely is that? You betcha. It's a great photo. We have others in the pipeline that are on par.
And, please, if you know of some private, secret, not-open-to-the-public space, that says something about Washington, and where Ron can bring his camera, please let me know. DC is a feast of these kinds of opportunities. It's my goal to find them.