Behind the Photo: Bill Clark’s Favorite Photos

Click on photo to enlarge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Click on photo to enlarge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:11pm

In this installment of our “Behind the Photo” series, photographer Bill Clark discusses his favorite photos he’s taken over years on Capitol Hill and on the road.  

Clark describes the award-winning photo he took in Las Vegas while waiting for a Harry Reid rally to start. “Michelle Obama was coming to campaign for Harry Reid and she was running a few hours late.” Everyone, including journalists who came to cover the event had “nothing to do,” he said. Clark spotted a few women posing with a TIME magazine cover with the first lady on the cover. “I just started taking pictures trying to amuse myself waiting for the main event to happen,” Clark said.  

Clark talked about a photo project where he followed Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., from a week before he was elected all the way through his first year in Congress. “It’s a great way to get to know a member of Congress,” Clark said. The toughest part of a project like this one, he said, is “just getting it off the ground.” The biggest challenge is getting the member’s press person on board and getting top staffers to OK the project. “Just having the cooperation from the start” is key, Clark said. “I don’t follow him every day,” he explained. “Every week, or two weeks I’ll find and event or a hearing he’s participating in and try to grab a photo.”  

An iconic picture Clark took this year was of Mitch McConnell holding a musket over his head at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March. “A lot of photographers missed that picture,” Clark said. “Luckily, I had a 400mm lens … and I was able to get off one shot from the back of the room before he put it down.”  

Clark ’s career in photojournalism began in the late 1980s, when he started as a photo researcher for U.S. News & World Report. He has been covering Washington, D.C., since 2000 and he has been a Roll Call staff member since 2006.  

Watch him explain how he managed to catch split-second shots and the method he uses to capture visually interesting images in stale settings.