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Photographing the President

I’ve never seen a behind the scenes of a photo session with any state dignitaries, but this is probably as close as I’ll ever get to being there. In this video Straits Times photojournalist run through a quick photo shoot (roughly 90 seconds) in order to get 2 different shots of Myanmar President Thein Sein.

On 30 January, 2012, The Straits Times interviewed Myanmar President Thein Sein, at the Shangri-la Hotel in Singapore.
Besides taking shots during the interview, Straits Times photojournalist Desmond Lim also wanted to make a portrait of Thein Sein.
With the help of photojournalists Samuel He and Lim Wui Liang, he set up a backdrop and three lights, an hour before the interview began.
The Myanmese officials did not agree to the shoot initially, but agreed after some negotiations.
The aim was to photograph Thein Sein after the interview and make two different portraits – as quickly as possible. Samuel will hold up the beauty dish in front of the president, while Wui Liang would shift the light for the second portrait.
This video shows the what happened the moment Thein Sein emerged from the interview session, and the photographs that were made during those 90 seconds. – http://vimeo.com/35940897

While the photos are not Steve Mcurrys or Irving Penns, these are a good example of what photographers do when they have to do things quickly (which is almost always, given the fussiness of people of our age. At the very least it’s an interesting insight on what goes on to make a (fast) portrait shot.

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