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Oct 8, 2013
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Section 60 stripped of mementos

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Arlington, Virginia

By Kevin Lamarque

In March of 2013 I walked through Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60, the burial site for soldiers from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike most of the nearly 400,000 orderly and somber graves over Arlington’s 612 acres, the newer graves in Section 60 carried fresh reminders of lives cut too short and of too many loved ones left behind bearing unspeakable sorrow. There were immensely sad graveside moments of girlfriends, wives, children, mothers and fathers sitting, kneeling, laying beside a grave, often touching, holding or kissing the headstone of their fallen loved one. These loved ones would often leave behind mementos of all kinds, a way to keep their connection to those who departed too soon.

At that time, I documented many of these graveside mementos in a photo story for Reuters. Some of the images brought tears to my eyes…

Mar 14, 2013
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Gone, but never forgotten

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Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

By Kevin Lamarque

From a distance, the graves at Arlington National Cemetery are all seemingly uniform, precise rows of white headstones as far as the eye can see. However, a visit to Section 60, burial site of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, shows how fresh the wounds of these wars are. Many of these graves are adorned with photos, trinkets, stones, messages, keepsakes and other mementos placed atop or around the headstone. These items help form a bond to the deceased, a reminder that they are sorely missed and will never be forgotten. For each headstone in Section 60, there is the painful story of a life that ended far too soon. It is also the story of those left behind who must bear this insufferable loss. These headstones help tell a small part of this story, a story of profound sadness.

Mar 1, 2013
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Hitting the ground running

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Washington, D.C.

By Kevin Lamarque

Air Force One descends and the well choreographed dance begins: meal trays go up, shoes put back on, and laptops slipped into backpacks. Often the movie is abandoned minutes before the ending. Perhaps it’s time for one last reach into the candy basket. Cameras are slung over shoulders and settings are re-checked. Questions are asked: “Is it raining out there?” “Is there a pen of greeters?” Photographers, first out the door of the press cabin, make their way to the designated spot under the wing to photograph the President descending the steps of Air Force One.

Whether it’s a quick day trip to Virginia or a red-eye to Europe or Asia, the arrival of Air Force One is always a spectacle. For locals, it is the quintessential moment of self-importance: “Air Force One is landing in our city.” Footage of the plane landing is usually broadcast live by local networks. From inside the plane’s press cabin, we often watch this live footage, actually seeing ourselves land. It’s a pretty weird experience when you think about it.

Oct 26, 2012
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“We’re pulling an all-nighter”

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By Kevin Lamarque

“We’re pulling an all-nighter” — President Barack Obama’s refrain to crowds across the U.S.A. throughout his non-stop 40-hour campaign swing.

An all-nighter? Really? As in we sleep on the plane? On a domestic trip? Seriously? This was my initial reaction upon seeing the White House press schedule and failing to find a hotel mentioned anywhere. But sure enough, that was the deal.

Jul 17, 2012
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A tourist in my own backyard

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By Kevin Lamarque

There may be no free lunch, but for those seeking to take in art and education, visiting Washington is a bargain. The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, includes 19 museums and galleries. All of which are free of charge. Add to that the National Gallery of Art, and the only toll you will pay is the fatigue on your legs as you wander from site to site in the nation’s capital.

I have upon occasion been lured into the National Gallery of Art, located next to the U.S. Capitol, before or after covering my news assignments on Capitol Hill. The National Gallery of Art provided me with a temporary escape from the world of politics that dominates this town. It also gave me some much needed visual stimulation. I would rarely come out without some interesting photo for Reuters. I enjoyed trying to capture the aesthetic relationship between the physical space of the gallery, the art and the visitor.

May 5, 2012
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Into the night: Covert travel with President Obama

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By Kevin Lamarque

First there is the phone call. It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon in Washington when the phone rings. “Can you be at the White House for a meeting in four hours? I can’t tell you why, but we need you to be there.”

Hmmm … I’ve seen this show before, and I pretty much know what the deal is. President Obama is going to be traveling somewhere unsavory and everything about it will be Top Secret until he lands at his mystery destination.

Apr 12, 2012
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Texts from Hillary – go figure!

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By Kevin Lamarque

On a secretive trip by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Tripoli, only days before the capture and killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi, I photographed Clinton aboard a C-17 transport plane. She was wearing dark sunglasses while texting from a makeshift desk she was working from. Okay, nice image I thought, but we were about to land in Tripoli which was certain to yield the images that the world would really want to see. Initially yes. But that was last October.

In the past week, that image of Hillary texting on the plane has gone viral thanks to a tumblr.com blog called “Texts from Hillary” which used my image, along with a similar one from photographer Diana Walker, for a meme which according to the creators of the blog resulted in “a week that included 32 posts, 83,000 shares on Facebook, 8,400 Twitter followers, over 45K Tumblr followers, news stories around the world.”

Mar 29, 2012
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Tennis, with strings attached

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By Kevin Lamarque

The average weekend tennis hacker might never have their racquet restrung. A serious player might have their racquets strung every month, but for most players, once a year suffices. A top professional tennis player strings up to 6-racquets before EVERY match.

As a keen club player who strings his own racquets, I’ve always been intrigued by the elite teams of stringing professionals who work the major professional tournaments.

Feb 13, 2012
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Fitness first for the First Lady

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As children’s obesity has dramatically increased in recent years, Michelle Obama had made a cause out of fighting the national trend towards bad diet and too little exercise. Two years ago she launched her “Let’s Move” initiative to improve the diet and fitness of our nation.

According to “Let’s Move”, over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. “Let’s Move” states that “today, nearly one in three children in America is overweight or obese. Thirty years ago, most people led lives that kept them at a healthy weight. Kids walked to and from school every day, ran around at recess, participated in gym class, and played for hours after school before dinner. Meals were home-cooked with reasonable portion sizes and there was always a vegetable on the plate. Eating fast food was rare and snacking between meals was an occasional treat.”

Nov 3, 2011
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A country a day with Hillary Clinton

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By Kevin Lamarque

Traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, covering seven countries in seven days (Malta, Libya, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) was sure to present some challenges, but also offer some fresh perspectives. My usual beat, covering Obama at the White House and on his trips abroad, generally involves lots of pushing and shoving with other photographers behind velvet ropes or trying to get a clear photo through layers upon layers of secret service agents. I was welcoming a chance to be free of these constraints in the more low key State Department bubble.

I was the “pool” photographer on this trip, supplying my photos not only to Reuters but to AP and AFP as well. I was hoping that being the only wire photographer on the trip would give me better access and more spontaneous images.