Saturday, August 19, 2023

Photographing Diplomats: The Potomac Exchange


Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India
The Potomac Exchange is a 50-year-old Washington, DC membership-based organization that brings business leaders and foreign ambassadors together. Its mission is to create a dialog of understanding, initiate business relationships, and network for an “off-the-record” luncheon.  As the official photographer for The Potomac Exchange, my goal is to document interesting moments.

Christina Markus Lassen is the Ambassador of Denmark luncheon at the Top of the Hay, Hay-Adams Hotel, Washington, DC
While photographing these luncheons, usually in a wonderful room with limited space, it is vital to understand several key elements: Be respectful of the decorum. It is a luncheon meeting, walk cautiously, give the servers the room they need to maneuver. Find angles that emphasize the speakers, avoiding distractions. Lighting is always an issue, bright sunlight coming through the window, or not enough light because the room is dimly lit, knowing how to make proper camera adjustments and doing good postproduction is required to give the client exceptional pictures. Have a smile on your face. Lastly, one of the first lessons learned from the great New York Times Photographer George Tames, as a DC photographer, what is heard in the room, stays in the room. Confidentiality is sacred.  

Ambassador Juan Gabriel Vald├ęs of Chile. Ambassador Yerzhan Ashikbayev of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Francisco Duarte Lopes of Portugal
Being a photographer is privilege. As a photographer, one is a witness to many interesting and significant events, and you get to share what you photograph with many people. The most important skill a photographer can bring to their clients is the expertise of making images that the story. 

Copyright 2023 Laurence L. Levin

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