30-Year Blast from the Past

I had an unusual experience today. I was on a team work call this morning. My boss had us talk about celebrations and good things that have gone on since our last meeting. One of the thinks she brought up to the team was all of the Fall photos I have posted over the past few days.

She mentioned to them that I used to be a photojournalist as a way to explain my photo skills. She then said, which I liked, “actually, he still is.”

I put a few links into the chat window so that the other team members could look at a few of the pix I posted her on my blog.

Shortly after the call ended, I received an alert email from Google saying they found my name in the news today.

When I opened the email, this is what I saw (at right). CLICK THIS TO GO TO THE ARTICLE IN THE TULSA WORLD.

I was surprised to see my name listed in the excerpt. Once I clicked on the link, I saw that they used two of my pix from that whole situation. They were both from the press conference that she held several days after the story broke.

An anguished Hill speaks at the presser

I remember the day I got the call to go try to get a picture of Anita Hill at her home. I was riding my bike in Oklahoma City. I got a pager notice with the phone number of the AP office. When I called in, they tried to explain what was going on.

This is what I remember being told, “there is a woman in Norman who has claimed she was harassed by some judge being considered for the Supreme Court.”

To be honest, I had no idea what I was being told. I was probably very focused on my ride. They gave me the address to go try to get a picture of Ms. Hill.

I was not thrilled. I wanted to finish my ride and this did not sound like an interesting story, nor did it sound like it would make good pictures. Nonetheless, it was part of the job to do things like this.

Little did I know!

Once getting all my gear together, I quickly made my way down to Norman, which is about a 30 minute drive.

When I arrived to Ms. Hill’s house, there were already a couple journalists wandering around. I saw one walk up to the house and know on the door. There was no answer.

As the day went on, the number of news crews and other journalists reached around 15. While waiting there, I was able to get up to speed on the details of the situation. I better understood why this was a big deal.

The confirmation of a lifetime Supreme Court member is a big deal.

I probably arrived at her house in the middle of the afternoon. As time wore on that day, two theories were emerging. The first was that she was home but not answering. The second was that she was not home. One way or the other, at some point, she was either going to need to leave or come home. So my job was to sit and wait.

My memory is a little fuzzy about the length of the wait. It was either one and half or two and a half days.

The news crews would swap out and bring in fresh reinforcements. I had no such luxury.

I did notice that there was a Mercedes that drove by the house several times. Each time they looked carefully at all the journalists standing on the curb in front of the house. I remember thinking to myself that this was someone casing the scene on behalf of Ms. Hill. They were wanting to see if the journalists had gotten tired and left.

That was smart. Because it worked. At about 11pm, that same car came driving down the street. This time as it approached the house, it slowed down, and then it turned into the driveway.

At this point there was only me and CBS 60-minutes news crew left on the street. We rushed up the driver door, and lo and behold, out comes Ms. Hill. There was no one else in the car.

The CBS video crew clicked on their lights, which was a total blessing for me because it was pitch black. I had a flash on and I took as many shots as I could.

Ms. Hill spoke briefly to the news crew and then walked inside her house.

I was stoked! I had waited it out and was able to get the only still photos of any news organization. I was tired, but I rushed back to the AP office and processed my pictures. I immediately sent them to the “AP Wire.”

I went home feeling a terrific sense of a job well done.

The pictures that we re-published today in the Tulsa World were from a press conference that happened several days later. I do not remember how many days later.

Hill was in an obvious state of shock or stress.

After the press conference, I got a call from Newsweek Magazine. They wanted a picture for their weekly issues. I told them I had one, yes, ONE negative that I could send them. It happened to be the next picture on the roll of film from the image above.

Without ever seeing it, they bought the negative
for either $750 or $1,000.

I shipped it to them overnight and it appear in their next issue.

One of the things that stood out to me each time I saw Hill was the fact that she looked like she was so stressed. You could tell that she wrenched with agony over the situation. I imagine that most people would be. You can see it in the photos above.

Holy cow, 30 years ago.

30 years.

I wasn’t even 30 at the time.

More than half of my life ago.

OK, enough of that!

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