Texts from Hillary – go figure!

April 12, 2012

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.”

The blog went so viral, that the creators of the tumblr blog, Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe were invited to the State Department where they met with Secretary Clinton who according to Smith found the site much to her liking. The icing on the cake was having their photo taken with Clinton as they all texted.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Yesterday, Smith and Lambe announced on the blog

As far as memes go – it has gone as far as it can go. Is it really possible to top a submission from the Secretary herself? No. But then when you get to text with her in real life – it’s just over. At least for us. But we have no doubt it will live on with all of you on the Internet. The site will stay up but we won’t be posting anything new here.

So photographers, you never really know when your pictures will resurface and what use they will be to someone out there. For a week anyway, this photo used on tumblr.com provided some laughs for its readers and a lot of emails to me from colleagues, friends and family.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Saw the story on the news here in OZ, didn’t know it was Kevin’s pic that started it all… nice to see a dose of “lighter” news once in a while :-)

Posted by JohnPryke | Report as abusive

KevMEME, kudos!!

Posted by tee1766 | Report as abusive

Well, at least high-ranking diplomats still use blackberrys.

Posted by millcitymonitor | Report as abusive

Nice to see politics be put to the side every once in a while and see the human side of these people.

Posted by CaboWaboDW | Report as abusive

Have to admit I was hoping to see an iconic moment surrounding Secretary Clinton. After reading, this sounds more like a ploy generated by the company and/or investors behind Tumblr.

IF Tumblr can show the site has the potential to make something viral then they are worth more money. A report several weeks ago detailed how individuals in China and other Eastern countries are paid to have hundreds of accounts with new social media start-ups. These accounts make events look like a social buzz. The companies then acquire new capital or they are sold to investors due to the popularity of the social media sites. In the latest Silicon Valley boom, Tumblr suspiciously falls right into place.

All the same, maybe Sec. Clinton is texting to proceed with the attack. Hats off to the photographer.

Posted by moxsee | Report as abusive

I don’t think it’s quite worthy of veneration

Posted by REMant | Report as abusive