Hillary Clinton, Behind the Scenes: Diana Walker Photographs an Icon

Hillary Rodham Clinton—former United States Senator, Secretary of State, First Lady, 2008 presidential candidate, Yale-educated lawyer, mother, and grandmother, not to mention the Democrats’ possible presidential candidate in 2016—is a modern icon. It’s only fitting that her portraits would be photographed by a woman who’s just as accomplished in her own field. Diana Walker served as the official White House photographer for Time magazine through five administrations, including Bill Clinton’s two terms from 1993-2001. Her newest book, Simon & Schuster’s Hillary: The Photographs of Diana Walker, features 150 images that capture behind-the-scenes moments from Clinton’s political career. In conjunction with the book’s release, Georgetown gallery Addison/Ripley will display 26 of these photographs in a special two-week exhibition.

A Washington native, Walker gained access to the Capitol Hill scene as a young staffer and freelancer, earning White House press credentials while working on stories for Washington Monthly and The Village Voice. She signed a contract with Time at the start of the Ford administration, the first landmark in an illustrious career. In 20 years, Walker perfected the art of capturing political powerhouses in comparatively private moments: Hillary Clinton in dark sunglasses, scrolling through her smartphone on an airplane, or discussing wardrobe options with her daughter Chelsea, the twinkling glow of a White House Christmas tree in the background. “As a photographer,” Walker says, “sometimes you can tell when you are being led, and you wait. Other times you shoot because you know it is just what you think it is. And then there are the times that are so true that you feel it in your bones and sometimes in your heart.”

Walker’s portfolio is wide-ranging—she has been recognized by the World Press and the National Press Photographers Association, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History ran a retrospective of her work, and her photos have been published in magazines ranging from Vanity Fair and New York to People and Life. But her new book, and the carefully curated selection at Addison/Ripley, show Walker at her best: as a decorated but down-to-earth photojournalist revealing a slice of the day-to-day life of one of the world’s most powerful women.

—Bridget Gleeson

“Hillary: The Photographs of Diana Walker is on view at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, Washington, D.C., Nov. 21–Dec. 6, 2014.

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