Reuters photog who took ‘Texts from Hillary’ picture says viral meme was ‘a mystery to me’

Reuters | Storify
Reuters photographer Kevin Lamarque tells the story behind his now-famous photo of Hillary Clinton wearing sunglasses and checking her BlackBerry:

“On a secretive trip by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Tripoli, only days before the capture and killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi, I photographed Clinton aboard a C-17 transport plane. She was wearing dark sunglasses while texting from a makeshift desk she was working from. Okay, nice image I thought, but we were about to land in Tripoli which was certain to yield the images that the world would really want to see. Initially yes. But that was last October.”

Last week it sparked a meme of 32 Tumblr posts suggesting what and who Clinton was text messaging. They got 83,000 shares on Facebook, over 45,000 Tumblr followers and a blitz of media coverage. In the end, Clinton herself joined the fun.

In a Facebook chat on Thursday Lamarque said, “I am perhaps a bit old school, I don’t tweet and I spend little time reading blogs, so the scope and scale of the whole thing was a bit of a mystery to me.” And in the blog post, he adds: “Photographers, you never really know when your pictures will resurface and what use they will be to someone out there.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/roblimo Robin Miller

    That photo made Secretary Clinton look hard-core and connected — exactly the kind of person we want to be handling our foreign policy in a dangerous world. Heck, it makes her look presidential. I often regret voting for Obama instead of her, but it’s too late to undo that since I can’t find the controls for the time machine I’m riding that goes one year into the future every year whether I like it or not.