Chelsea Clinton received her doctorate degree last Saturday in a ceremony at The Sheldonian Theatre. Bill and Hillary were also there along with Chelsea’s husband and they all looked extremely proud when I saw them exit the Sheldonian and be photographed for their family group shot while a mass of students (who had also just graduated) looked on. I managed to photograph them as they casually walked through Radcliffe Square on their way back to University College on the High Street. It all happened so quickly and I did my best to maintain focus on my Rolleiflex twin-lens camera while walking backwards and trying not to trip over. They were surrounded by secret service agents that insisted that I stayed back which added another element of difficulty because I had to keep an eye out for when they were about to step in front of my camera. A group of paparazzi were quite a way off behind me concentrating on Chelsea and her husband who were walking off ahead of Bill and Hillary. I only had seven frames left on the roll in my Rolleiflex so I had to make every frame count and I’m very pleased with my shots.
Back in the summer of 2012 Bill visited Oxford to give a presentation at a conference in town. I didn’t know this and while I was on my lunch hour photo walk I came across one of his secret service agents standing outside Blackwell’s bookshop on Broad Street. I noticed him from across the street but I didn’t realise he was an actual secret service agent until I got closer and noticed the white coiled wire connected to an ear piece. We had a brief conversation and he was nice enough to allow me to make a quick portrait (below). At that point I didn’t know that Bill Clinton was inside Blackwell’s and I only found out when I got back to my office and one of my work colleague’s told me because a friend of his was working at Blackwell’s and Bill in there. Later that evening I went to the Malmaison hotel to photograph an event and when I got there I noticed lots of vehicles with blacked out windows parked in the front. When I left the hotel after I had finished my photography, standing at the door was the same secret service agent that I had photographed at lunch time. We had a nice chat and I explained a bit about this blog and my passion for film photography and just as I was about to leave he handed me a secret service pin badge which I thought was a very kind of him. I didn’t ask his name but whoever he is I hope he gets to see the portrait I made of him two years ago.
[Tech info:] Rolleiflex 2.8F, 80mm Zeiss Planar, loaded with Fuji Acros 100, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 5:30.
Secret service agent: Rolleiflex SL66, 80/2.8 Zeiss Planar, Fuji Acros 100, processed in Kodak HC110 1+31 for 5:30.