News photographer, Christy Bowe, has covered five consecutive administrations at the White House and her lens has captured icons from the last 30 years — from Lady Diana to Muhammad Ali.
Bowe has released a new book, Eyes That Speak, a remarkable photographic document that covers spiritual figures such as Mother Teresa, musical stars like Bruce Springsteen, and all the big beast politicians that have dominated Washington for the last three decades.
Bowe tells PetaPixel that she began shooting on Nikon film cameras, the F3, F4, and F5, before transitioning to digital in 2001 and using the D3, D4, and D5 models.
“I use primarily a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 70-200mm f/2.8, and an f/4.5 400mm lens. I have recently purchased a Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera and it is awesome. Although I have the lens adapter I am loving using the 24-200mm f/4 lens whenever possible.”
Bowe says that presidential inaugurations have been among the most challenging “because of the long hours, extensive security, and very cold weather usually.”
She is represented by Zuma Pres and Getty Images who sell the photojournalist’s work worldwide, but has also picked up corporate clients along the way, such as Harley Davidson and Lucasfilm LTD.
Bowe describes herself as “a small fish in the big pond of media outlets.”
“There are a few elitists who think themselves superior just because of the organization they work for, but for the most part, the Press Corps is made up of a great bunch of talented folks,” she writes in her book.
Bowe first realized a passion for news photography while shooting a protest rally in Washington after a fortuitous meeting with an accredited journalist and was “unofficially intend along.
“I then discovered the fire in my belly—my passion for being where the action is and recording history as it happens,” Bowe explains.
She has photographed eight presidential inaugurations, the confirmation hearing of eight U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and two presidential impeachments.
Bowe admires President Bill Clinton for his “ability to make anyone he was speaking to feel special and important,” qualities overshadowed by the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the drama that followed at his impeachments hearings.
While President George W. Bush apparently had “quick wit and easy banter with the press corps,” as demonstrated by his iconic “now, watch this drive,” video.
When Robert Redford picked up his Presidential Medal of Freedom at age 80, he shook Bowe’s hand and told her that he wished his mom and dad had been there.
Woman in the White House
The Press Corps in Washington is a male-dominated scene and she is one of the few female mainstays.
“Hold your ground when getting a position but always be considerate of both the photographers around you and the security personnel. Remember what goes around comes around,” Bowe says to any aspiring woman news photographer.
Eyes That Speak: One Woman News Photographer’s Journey with History Makers is available from Amazon and all good book stores.
Image credits: All photos by Christy Bowe.