Heard on the Hill: Photographer of the Political Power Couples

Posted June 24, 2011 at 5:45pm

For the past 20 years, Denis Reggie has been the photographer for nearly every Kennedy wedding, including John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s in 1996.

At an event held at the Russell Senate Office Building on Thursday and hosted by the Copyright Alliance, Reggie, whose sister was married to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), spoke about some of the iconic images he has captured, including a gorgeous picture in which John Jr. is caught kissing his new wife’s hand.

“This was done in complete darkness on an island with no street lights and, in fact, no streets,” he said. Reggie watched as Kennedy reached for Bessette’s hand.

“You see the look on her face of complete surprise,” he continued. “They were coming toward me very quickly, and I was walking backward [with] a couple of wild animals at my feet — dogs, pigs, some mutation of both.”

Reggie said his camera was tilted and he was watching Bessette’s expression.

“When I took the shot,” Reggie said, “it was unexpected to her and unexpected to me as the witness. It was not created for the camera. They couldn’t see me, but it was one of those moments.”

Reggie said the couple asked that he release one photo and said it was his choice which it would be. Bessette’s only request was the picture show her dress.

Reggie has been credited with changing wedding photography as we know it (for what it’s worth, Oprah says he’s the best in the business), and he is the go-to photog for Washington’s power couples.

He snapped Andrea Mitchell and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s wedding, as well as James Carville and Mary Matalin’s nuptials. In a few weeks, Reggie will be photographing the big day of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).

But never fear, brides and bridegrooms! HOH is told Reggie works with us normals as well.

He was also responsible for the portrait used for the autobiography of Edward Kennedy. According to Reggie, the photo, taken in Hyannisport, was one of the last of the “liberal lion.”

With “the sweater, the soft light, the relaxed expression,” Reggie said he captured “a Ted Kennedy we didn’t see as much on the evening news.”