by Angelique A. Inchierca
Former presidential photographer David Valdez relived his most exciting years as a photographer in a Press Briefing at Franklin Pierce University during The Presidency and The Press conference.
“He has a very natural way of speaking, it was less of a speech and more of a casual conversation. Which made it a lot easier to take in the information and enjoy his presentation.” Megan Twitchell, a student journalist attending The Presidency and The Press Conference, said.
As the Air Force Florida base photographer, Valdez was in charge of documenting parades, award ceremonies, plane crashes, passports and much more. He shared during his presentation that his time in the military helped him begin his career in photojournalism.
Valdez said that his disciplined background helped him land his first job. He then became the personal and public photographer for President George H.W. Bush and his family.
This new title had similar aspects to his time in the military, including photographing the President at parades, public speeches and international affairs. A unique part of this job was taking personal photos of the first family, such as the Bush family portrait for Christmas cards.
Valdez knew he would be a perfect fit when his first day came around and President Bush wanted an action shot of his boat from a bird’s eye view. The familiar setting of an open helicopter didn’t phase Valdez while taking the shots. “Being in the Air Force, I had been hanging out of helicopters multiple times before, there was no fear of falling,” he said.
Over 20 years later, Valdez has been published in multiple magazines all over the world. A handful are The Florida Base News, Life, Time, National Geographic, News Week, Hola, and World Report.
Though he is now retired, Valdez is still invited to the Traveling Photos Exhibit–an exhibit displaying popular photographs from Presidential photographers over the years. The photographs walk through his time traveling all 50 states and the 75 countries he has been able to visit by the president’s side.
Valdez hopes to inspire young photographers to use creativity and positivity into their journalism. “The one thing I wish I had is the digital advances we have now,” he said. He hopes that new generations dream big and use their experiences to help them while pursuing their future careers as he did.
The Presidency and the Press event was recorded for C-Span and The Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication. For more information about David Valdez and to view more of his iconic photographs, visit his website at www.davidvaldezphotography.com.
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