Only human: A photographic look at the Bush presidency
By Stelios Varias
In the eight years that George W. Bush served as the 43rd U.S. president, Reutersâ€™ photographers were witness to big events and the daily grind that is full-time presidential coverage. Along the way, they amassed a collection of truly memorable images. As their longtime colleague and picture editor, it has been my pleasure to see their images come across the Reutersâ€™ wire and land on the fronts of newspapers and online home pages.
With the Bush presidential center scheduled to be dedicated in Dallas on April 25, I’ve assembled a few of my favorites from our photographers.
President Bush will be most remembered for steering the United States through the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, from the day he was told â€śAmerica is under attackâ€ť by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, to when he stood on the crumpled remains of a fire truck at New Yorkâ€™s Ground Zero and told the country through a borrowed megaphone that the United States would respond.
Looking back I see a trail of memorable images. Some of the strongest pictures for me are of what I like to think of as in-between moments, that reveal more about the man than the office.
As candidate-with-baby photos go, they donâ€™t get any better that this Jim Bourg image of Bush handing back a crying infant.
Though presidential departures (and arrivals) are part of a White House photographerâ€™s daily regimen, occasionally weâ€™re afforded an opportunity for something more than a wave hello or goodbye. Here, Kevinâ€™s use of light makes for a striking image of what many consider a “routine” photo opportunity.
Here again, Larry Downingâ€™s sharp focus and quick reactions make for a very pleasing and interesting photograph.
I consider this Kevin Lamarque image as the gold standard of Rose Garden turkey pardoning moments.
Another funny Rose Garden moment captured by Jason Reed.
Often, a good Bush facial expression proved to be the most effective story-teller.
This Larry Downing photo of an exhausted President Bush boarding Air Force One in New Orleans after speaking about Hurricane Katrina’s damage, is an excellent example of when a face isn’t needed to carry the story.
This creatively cropped Jason Reed photo of a White House staff member walking off with a portrait of then outgoing President Bush the day before President Obamaâ€™s inauguration tells a departure story as only Jason could.
Thanks to White House correspondent Steve Holland for contributing to this blog.