Photographers' Blog

A night out with Strauss-Kahn

By Allison Joyce

After three months of court appearances, sensational headlines and living in a fish bowl, a New York judge dropped all criminal sexual assault charges against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

On Thursday night, all the photographers were expecting DSK and his wife Anne to take their usual private car service when they went out to dinner. We could see someone peeking through the curtain every few minutes and assumed that they were checking out the crowd of media.

As soon as the numbers dwindled down to one cameraman, one reporter and three photographers, they made their move. We were surprised to see Strauss-Kahn and Anne exit their Tribeca townhouse and then stroll for five blocks, attempting to hail a cab.

Both looked much more relaxed, happy, and unhurried than I have ever seen them. DSK looked so different wearing his tee-shirt and sneakers, that I did not recognize him at first! As they walked, they talked and laughed at the photographers who were stumbling over one another to take their photo.

I was struck by how much in love they appeared to be and a few colleagues even remarked the stress of the last few months seemed to have made Anne and Strauss-Kahn much closer. When they were recognized by a few passers-by, one or two of whom shouted, “We love you, Strauss-Kahn!” the couple looked at each other and laughed together, clearly enjoying the moment.

Strauss-Kahn: The stakeout, the courthouse and the lookout

ALLISON JOYCE

It was the kind of day every photographer dreads – pouring rain and a 15-hour stakeout. Not only were my shoes soaked through, but my only flash had drowned by the time I arrived at the NYPD Special Victims Unit headquarters in Harlem. By 8:30am, a mix of French and American media had gathered behind the police station, awaiting IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s perp walk.

Once seen as a strong contender for next year’s French presidential elections, Strauss-Kahn was now being charged with the attempted rape of a Manhattan hotel maid. We were informed the night before that he would be brought to his arraignment around noon. But as in all situations, things rarely go as planned; we knew we were in for a long wait. I was posted at the front entrance for most of the day and at 4:00pm, senior Reuters photographer Mike Segar motioned for me to join him in the crowd of 50+ journalists at the back of the station because it appeared that Strauss Kahn was about to be led out.

This was just the beginning of the countless false starts of the night, peppered with speculation, coffee runs, pizza deliveries and high anxiety. Seven hours later, at 11:00pm, I was perched on a small stool, sandwiched between a videographer’s armpit and a photographer’s elbow, when suddenly it happened. Silent and angry, Strauss-Kahn came out cuffed, staring straight ahead – a trophy escorted by five detectives. I had planned to shoot available light from the video cameras, but at the last second, another photographer offered to lend me a flash. Just as DSK was being guided into the car he looked straight at me, but said nothing. I leaned on the shutter and prayed that the flash would penetrate the glass of the window. Et voilà!