Photographers' Blog

The “Western White House”


Every year since he took office in 2001, President George W. Bush has taken a summer vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, a small town that has come to identify itself as the “Western White House.” This year was different, though. Only once during his 13-day vacation in Crawford did Bush appear before the news media and only once did he use Texas as a base to make a daytrip. The president was rarely seen, even though his name and face is everywhere in town. Crawford brimmed with White House personnel, Secret Service agents and members of the media even as Bush remained out of sight.


It made me think, what will it be like for Crawford when Bush leaves office next year and life returns to some sense of normal?

I took the opportunity to explore the town a little bit, as it was only my second visit. I did, in fact, find images of the president everywhere — in life-sized cardboard cutouts, hot sauce bottles, coasters, mugs and glasses. There were even bobble head dolls, paper dolls and action figures. I found a town that was very proud to have Bush as their neighbor, but a little tired of the traveling circus that comes with him. I was told that the mayor never gives interviews and the manager of the local coffee shop didn’t want to talk to me either.


Thankfully, the owner of a local souvenir shop was happy to chat about her town and her famous neighbor. Interestingly, she hoped Bush may consider coaching a local baseball team after he leaves the Oval Office. For me, the sentiment was a nice little surprise and a measure of just how much affection and even accessibility the people of Crawford feel for a man who’s often there, but not really there.


To view the audio slideshow, click here.

Warrior dance: Audio slideshow

A traditional Masaai dance is seen through the eyes of photographer Antony Njuguna.

Snakes alive: Audio slideshow

In this arid river valley in southeastern Alberta, Adam Martinson is trying to find out why rattlesnakes cross the road.

Martinson, a University of Calgary student working on a Masters degree has come to Dinosaur Provincial Park, listed as a United Nations World Heritage site, to study why snakes slither onto — and too frequently die on — the asphalt blacktop of the region’s roads.

Photographer Todd Korol looks into the fate of rattlesnakes on Canadian roads.

Circus Smirkus – Audio slideshow

Brian Snyder takes us behind the scenes of the Circus Smirkus camp in Vermont.

A royal cremation

Photographer Beawiharta gives us an intimate look at a cremation ceremony for three members of the royal family of Ubud, on Indonesia’s island of Bali.

The tragedy of famine

Africa Chief Photographer Radu Sigheti shows us some truly moving images depicting a family tragedy brought on by the famine in Ethiopia.

Harley-Davidson Museum opens

Photographer Finbarr O’Reilly takes us inside the opening of the Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee.

Riding the chuckwagon: Audio slideshow

Photographer Todd Korol provides an insight into the life of Chuckwagon drivers at the Calgary Stampede, an invite only rodeo that attracts some of the world’s best riders.

Aftermath of a quake: Audio slideshow

A showcase of David’s Gray images of the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake are set to music in this audio slideshow.

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