Skip to content

The Last Time

December 31, 2006

Gerald Ford is dead, and with his death we are once again reminded of the last president to give full access to the White House. David Kennerly was the Ford photographer, something that remains one of the….wait…I’m watching the funeral right now, and Kennerly just passed by the television monitor. Brokaw said, “there goes David Hume Kennerly, still on the job.”
When Kennerly decided to be the photographer, his approach, from what I understand, was “Gerald, I need all access.” Ford said, “Okay.” “Where I go, Kennerly goes.”

There has not been a president since then that has allowed this access, and we are all the ones that suffer for it. Ford was genuine, lacked the ego that is so pervasive in modern politics, and wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself.
I’m not talking about politics here people, I’m talking about history and the characteristics of a certain president.

As I watch this thing this is near constant motor drive noises blasting away from every angle. On one hand I think, “probably good to have all those angles,” but on the other hand I think, “Jesus people, learn to look for the moment.” Might as well shoot video with most of these guys.

This reminds me of another story I recently read, a story by Dirck Halstead, another White House hound for over thirty years, who told of his trip to China, back in the day, to cover Nixon. This trip was HUGE, and the pressure on guys like Dirck was intense, as they not only had to shoot, but process, edit, print, and supply images for the pool. One of the photographers with Dirck was this old timer, a photographer from the old school, a guy bred on the idea of shooting sheet film(for you young digital people that means 4×5, not trying to belittle anyone but I have run into plenty of young shooters who don’t know what this means.) At the end of the day when this photographer delivered his film, he dropped one roll on the table. One roll. Not only that, he shot a twenty-four exposure roll. And on that roll, he had exposed eight frames total. Eight frames. They used every one.

This photographer was the guy up close and person with Nixon, so he was in the mix all day long, and still only shot eight frames. This is perhaps an extreme example but it should be a lesson for young photographers in the digital age. THINK.

This funeral sure isn’t flashy, not like Reagan’s, but I think it probably fits Ford a little better. Betty is there. Someone just passed out in the stands. Looks like an older guy.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: