Bill and Monica

Behind the camera: Dirck Halstead
Where: Fundraiser at the Washington D.C. Sheraton Hotel
Photo Summary: Bill Clinton embracing Monica Lewinsky
Picture Taken: Taken on Oct 23, 1996 published by TIME in their August 10 1998 issue

When the Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky story broke the news media used the same video clip, the one with Monica in a beret, endlessly repeating behind the talking heads. Hungry for more images of the two together media researchers scrambled through their archives to find another Monica and Bill needle in a photo haystack. That’s when, Time magazine photographer, Dirck Halstead entered the picture. He knew that he had seen Monica’s face and hired a researcher to pore over thousands of images until she found the image he remembered taking. Halstead had taken this picture at a 1996 fundraiser in Washington. When he showed it to TIME they sat on it for months waiting for Lewinsky story to become front page news. When Monica decided to go to the prosecutors and offer her testimony, the story was page one material and TIME made this image iconic by making it their cover shot.

Bill Monica Hug with Beret

The infamous beret shot that was overused by the 24 hour news cycle


The Scandal

In 1995, Monica Lewinsky, a graduate of Lewis & Clark College, was hired to work as an intern at the White House during Clinton’s first term. While at the White House her and Bill Clinton, while not engaging in sexual intercourse, participated in various sex acts, including getting his salad tossed! Bill Clinton perhaps realizing the danger of such a relationship puts the relationship on ice and had Monica transferred to the Pentagon to a $32,700 job as the confidential assistant, with a top-secret clearance.

Around this time Monica was asked if she had an affair with the President by lawyers of the Paula Jones case, a sexual harassment case against the President. When Monica’s friend Linda Tripp found out Lewinsky lied to the Paula Jones people she gave secret recording that Tripp had made of Monica admitting the affair to Kenneth Star. Starr used Monica Lewinsky lying under oath as a way to impeach President Bill Clinton. During the infamous trial, he was eventually forced to admit the sexual affair but was acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice during the 21-day Senate trial.

Monica on the rope lines

As Bill and Monica’s relationship began to wane Bill would see less and less of Monica. Almost to the point of stalking Monica tried to keep the flame alive by showing up at various events to get face time with the President. Later talking about her behavior she would recall that “I’m an insecure person … and I was insecure about the relationship at times and thought that he would come to forget me easily … So I made an effort. I would go early and stand in the front (at rope lines) so I could see him.” This is how sharp-eyed researchers found the “Beret” clip of Bill hugging Monica on November 6, 1996, the day after Clinton was re-elected. That clip was used endlessly by the news media to the point that the President of CNN would later apologize. Rick Kaplan, who served as President of CNN (1997-2000) was a good friend of President Clinton and has been quoted as saying it was a “big mistake” for CNN to show its exclusive footage of, “The Hug”, “Clinton probably gave 79 other hugs on that line,” said Mr. Kaplan, noting that Al Gore “also gave God knows how many hugs–not that anyone would care.”

Taking the picture

Again at a Saxophone Club fundraiser at the Washington Sheraton Monica waited at the rope line in hopes of getting some physical contact with Bill. Dirck Halstead recounts what happened next:

The circumstances behind that photograph was that in the last days of the campaign in 1996, the President was making an appearance before what they called the Saxophone Club which were young democrats. And I–at the end of the speech he went down into the crowd to work the line. When that happens, and it happens every presidential event, the photographers who had been on the floor in front of the president are brought up on the stage that he’s just left. And so our position then is on the stage, looking down on the president as he walks through the crowd. And I–somewhere in the process that night … something triggered something and I– took a picture and didn’t think anything more about it.

The reporters raced to the White House archives to discover what Clinton said on that day; he said these dubious words, “I was tired when I walked in, but I’m not tired anymore. You’ve given me a lot of energy.”

Monica



httpv://youtu.be/fpCv-UT2yCU

After the scandal, it was hard for Monica to get any kind of work. She was able to publish a successful book and was paid around $1,000,000 from the rights for her famous Barbara Walters interview, at 70 million viewers the second highest watched news program in history (The first is Oprah’s prime-time interview with Michael Jackson) but most of that went to legal fees and high cost of living now that she was a celebrity. There was a failed Jenny Craig spokesman gig and for a while, she ran an Internet handbag store and had some success as a reality TV show star. Eventually, she couldn’t take the constant media pressure and moved to the UK, graduating with a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics in 2006. Anonymous Monica friends have been quoted as saying that, “no one will hire her and she can’t get a job because of Clinton.”

In late 2012 the press broke a story about an upcoming tell-all book where supposedly Monica was getting paid $12 million but as of June 2013, there hasn’t been any more news. When Barbara Walters talked about retiring in 2014 she said that she wanted to do one more interview with Monica “I wouldn’t mind if my last one was Monica Lewinsky… she hasn’t been seen and I think she is a good person. I wouldn’t mind doing an interview with her again.”

Dirck Halstead

It’s ironic to me that after covering presidents and wars and films that probably, in the short term at least, my legacy is going to be having taken the picture of Monica Lewinski hugging President Bill Clinton.

Dirck Halstead first got his start covering the Guatemalan revolution of 1954. While working for TIME (1972-2001) his pictures graced its cover 54 times. Halstead is a big pusher of picture ownership and cites this photo as the reason that all photographers should keep ownership of their photos. As he says:

TIME have first-time rights on the photos. Once they have gone through the take, and pulled a few selects for the TIME-LIFE picture collection, the take goes to my agent, GAMMA-LIAISON. They then comb the take a second time, and pull their selects. Eventually, the take comes back to me, and resides in my light-room until I sort through it again, then send everything to the University of Texas, which is where my archives reside. Because I am busy, I only get around to sending the pictures to Texas about every 18 months … That is why ownership of your photographs is SO important. The simple fact is that no organization has the “memory of the image” that the photographer who took it has. The people who want “work for hire” from photographers, also disassociate their greatest asset from the thing that they have to sell.

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Microsoft – Bliss

Behind the camera: Charles O’Rear
Where: Sonoma County, California
Photo Summary: A hillside next to the shoulder of Highway 121
Picture Taken: 1996

In 1996 photographer Charles O’Rear was driving on Highway 121 through the Napa and Sonoma counties to the city of Marin. Looking over at the beautiful green hill and perfect sky O’Rear made the decision to pull over and snap the scene. Much later Microsoft Windows XP was looking for a picture and selected this one, renaming it Bliss. They choose the picture to be the centerpiece for the Windows XP $200 million advertising campaign Yes you can.

Taking the photo



Charles O’Rear was driving to the city of Marin and was struck by the scene he saw laid out before his eyes along Highway 121. To get the perfect shot he got out of his car and poked his medium format camera through the wire fence. He chose the ISO and f-stop settings and pushed the shutter. He would later remark in an interview:

Photographers like to become famous for pictures they created, I didn’t ‘create’ this. I just happened to be there at the right moment and documented it. If you are Ansel Adams and you take a particular picture of Half Dome and want the light a certain way, you manipulate the light. He was famous for going into the dark room and burning and dodging. Well, this is none of that.
I sure would have liked to have sold them another photo, But I think this is one that will be recognized by more people on the planet than any other photograph. People may still remember it when I’m dead and gone. It will probably be mentioned in my obituary.

To have full ownership of the photo Microsoft paid a huge sum, “one of the largest amounts ever paid to a living, working photographer.”

Photographer


Same location taken in 2006 shows there are now vineyards on the hill


Charles O’Rear is a professional photographer who has travelled the world taking pictures for National Geographic. He got his first camera when he was 10 and in his hometown of Butler, he worked as a sports reporter for the Daily Democrat. Moving to the big city he shot pictures for the Kansas City Star before he moved and worked for the Los Angeles Times shooting celebrities. After seeing his pictures National Geographic decided to give him a job and sent him to Alaska. For the next few decades, he worked NG taking pictures all around the world. While travelling through Indonesia on a year-long assignment he used over 500 rolls of film or thousands of pictures. Of all those only 25 for use for the issue of the magazine. He is now based out of Napa Valley, California and has published nine books of wine photography, including his best-selling Napa Valley: The Land, The Wine, The People and his wife co-wrote the Wine Across America: A Photographic Road Trip in 2007

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Oklahoma City Bombing

Behind the camera: Lester LaRue and Charles Porter took almost the same picture
Where: Outside the wreckage of the bombed out Alfred P. Murrah Federal government Building, Oklahoma, USA
Photo Summary: Oklahoma City fire Capt. Chris Fields holding Baylee Almon
Picture Taken: April 19, 1995

At 9:02, on April 19, 1995, Gulf War vet, Timothy McVeigh detonated 4,800 lbs of fertilizer and fuel oil. The resulting blast destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal government Building and killed 168 people. The bombing, largest act of domestic terrorism, in America, shattered pre-911 America’s innocence.
As the fires raged rescue services and bystanders rushed to pull victims out of the twisted wreckage. Sifting through the rubble police officer, Sgt. John Avera found a small half-buried body. Shouting. “I have a critical infant! I have a critical infant!” he thrust the 1-year-old Baylee Almon into the arms of nearby firefighter Oklahoma City fire Capt. Chris Fields. As Chris checked Baylee for signs of life two amateur photographers both raised their cameras. Lester LaRue and Charles Porter standing just three feet apart, yet unaware of each other, snapped the image that came to symbolize the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing.

The photographers

Porter


Charles Porter a 25-year-old credit specialist knew he had something less than 3 hours later when the clerk at the Wal-Mart photo counter stopped at one picture and began to cry. A friend told him to take the pictures to the media, and looking in the phone book he found the Associated Press office in Oklahoma City. Wendel Hudson, who was the AP photo editor in Oklahoma City right away saw the potential of the shot and sent it out on the AP wire. Porter returned home thinking that his photo might end up in the local paper until he received a long distance call:

I go home about 1300. About 1320 I get this phone call from this lady and she says: “Hi, I am so-and-so from the London Times and I want to know if you are Charles Porter.”
I said: “Yes I am, but how do you know who I am?”
She said: “Well I just received your image over the AP wire…”
And she proceeded to explain to me what the Associated Press wire was.
I said that I didn’t know how to respond and she said, “Well sir, can I ask you one question?” And this is where it hit home: “Could I get your reaction and response to what your feelings are going to be, knowing that your image is going to be over every newspaper and every magazine in the entire world tomorrow?”
I was silent and speechless, and chills go over me just to think about the magnitude and the enormity of where that picture went and the impact that picture had at that time.
It was beyond my scope of comprehension and understanding, way beyond.

Lester LaRue

The second shooter, Lester LaRue, a safety coordinator employed by Oklahoma Natural Gas Company rushed to the scene of the explosion thinking that the blast was a gas leak. When he could drive no further he grabbed the company camera he kept in the car and starting taking pictures. Later, he realized he too had something special when while developing his film the Moto-Photo clerk asked to make copies to show some people. The next day, the clerk called and said Newsweek wanted to see his negatives. The Magazine paid Lester $14,000 for the picture and it appeared on their May 1, 1995, cover. When the magazine hit the stands he became an instant celebrity and people started calling to make deals. Lester was both proud and ashamed of his claim to fame. He would sign magazines on the bottom right corner while blocking the image with his left. He was uncomfortable with the offers of money for photo rights. He worried the picture might be upsetting the baby’s mother. But a couple of weeks after the bombing, he saw Aren Almon, the babies mother, on the evening news saying she was proud her daughter had come to symbolize the innocence of the victims. That was enough for Lester, permission granted. Deals were made, money handed over: statues, posters, coins. His wife suggested T-shirts, with some of the profit going toward a downtown statue of the image. The shirts were only in stores a few days when he saw Aren Almon holding one of his shirts on TV livid that Lester was making money, off the image of her dead child.

Things turn bad


Company executives at Lester’s work started to get worried. They thought the controversy was bad for public relations. Since Lester took the picture with a company camera and on company time they told him to give up the picture and any money earned, he refused. After months of neither Lester nor management budging, at 10 a.m. on Sept. 6 his manager dropped an ultimatum on his desk. Sign over the money earned and any picture rights to the company or pack up your stuff and leave. Lester left. As he drove home in a co-workers car he couldn’t believe it. He had been a faithful company man for 32 years, didn’t that mean anything?

The Mother

[bigquote quote=”Aren isn’t the only one who lost a child in bombing” author=”Angry mother”]
Aren Almon, Baylee’s mother had avoided seeing her dead child the day of the explosion by getting her father to identify the body. The next day the shattered Aren couldn’t avoid the sight as she instantly recognized Baylee’s lifeless body on the front page of the Daily Oklahoman. Hours later the media tracked her down at her grandmother’s house. McVeigh’s bomb not only ended her child’s life but her own apartment only a block from the explosion was windowless and filled with debris and shattered glass.
She felt alone, crushed by the loss of her child. Looking at the paper again she sought comfort in the same arms that held Baylee, Chris Fields. Reporters arranged a meeting; she only got in a few words before breaking down, perfect footage for the evening news. She came to rely on Chris calling him 2, 3 times a week. She called him so much that tabloids started to imply that their relationship had developed into something else. Chris and Aren’s fears were confirmed when photographers started to ask them to kiss on camera and request shots of Chris’s wife standing alone.
Aren gladly granted some interviews and even gave her OK for some uses of the photograph. But now the picture of Baylee in Chris’s arms was coming to symbolize the tragedy, and both she and other victims’ families were starting to resent it. Other mother’s started to speak, out of grief and jealousy, that Aren was getting all the attention. On TV one women said, “Aren isn’t the only one who lost a child in the bombing. Why should Aren get all the publicity – and most of the donations?” At a gathering of victims’ relatives, the mother of another dead child turned to Aren and said, “We don’t have to write as many thank-you notes as you do.” In the darkest moments as the world seemed to turn on Aren she knew she could always depend on Chris.

The Firefighter

Police officer, Sgt. John Avera thrusting the Baylee Almon into the arms of Chris Fields Capt.


Chris Fields knew he had to be careful with his new found fame as he knew of firemen who took it too far. One in Texas had his 15min when he saved a baby trapped in a Texas well but when the publicity faded he couldn’t take it and committed suicide. Even days after the picture was flashed around the world some of the men at his station started to grumble, “I did more rescues than he did,”. He could understand their attitude because of one picture it was Chris, not them, who got to have breakfast with Tom Brokaw and Barbara Walters and get free trips to New York and Los Angeles for TV interviews.
Chris by all accounts didn’t let the attention go to his head; he didn’t even consider himself a hero. How could he when everyone he tried to save that day was dead or died later of their injuries. The one thing he could do was being there for the Aren. He thought Aren would find it was important that as he was the last one to hold Baylee. He felt it was his duty to comfort and protect her.
When resentful bombing victims vilified her on the TV news, he defended her. When she needed help to stop the exploitation of Baylee’s photo, he gave her names of lawyers. As time went on he felt more of a friend to Aren rather than Aren being just another one of his duties as a fireman.

Moving On

The mother of the baby in the firefighter’s arms
-The address of some of the letters to Aren

A memorial now sits on the grounds where the Murrah building stood. 168 empty chairs recall those who died. Amongst the 168 chairs, smaller chairs commemorate the 19 children killed, 15 in the same day-care center. The chairs are lined in nine rows, symbolizing the 9 floors of the building.

Ten years after the bombing Chris Fields has gone from Capt. to Major and is the acting battalion chief with the fire department. The memories don’t bother him but he dreads having to go through it again.
Aren is now married with two kids, Bella and Broox, both of who know about their famous half-sister. After Baylee’s limb body appeared on TVs across the world, letters started to flow in from everywhere. Many only had “the mother of the baby in the firefighter’s arms” as the address. There were poetry, letters, cards but most had one thing in common, money. Aren used the donations to get her life in order buying a house and a car but some of the very first donations she used to set up a group called Protecting People First Foundation (PPFF). Since the beginning PPFF’s mission has stayed the same, to raise awareness about the deadly effects of flying glass caused by a terrorist attack or natural disaster. After the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, workers thanked her because the protective glass helped save lives.

On April 18, 2005, the family celebrated what would have been Baylee’s 11th birthday. The cake and party favors are for her kids. They still have the party every year and the kids know the next day they’ll go to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and lay a wreath on the little chair that bears her name.
Oklahoma Natural Gas didn’t stop with firing Lester and on October 5, 1995, sued to claim copyright ownership of the photos. Oklahoma Natural Gas won. The court’s denied Lester’s appeals and Lester was forced to give up copyright ownership and pay statutory damages in the sum of $34,623.50.
Charles Porter’s picture went onto win the 1996 Pulitzer Prize. After the bombing Charles quit his job, moving to a collection agency but not happy there, he left that too. He worked odd jobs, and sometimes he got work as a wedding photographer. Brides had no idea their discount photographer was a Pulitzer Prize winner. Eventually, he went back to school and found his destiny – a degree in physical therapy. The Pulitzer he received for his picture is somewhere in his attic in a box. “My life,” Porter says, “is not defined by that one picture.”

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