BORIS YELSIN Washington DC 1991

Through my fiancé at the time, Bill Rollnick, who was acting as an official observer, I had the privilege to go to the Soviet Union and photograph the first democratic elections in Russia’s history. It was a very emotional experience, only heightened by meeting everyone in Boris Yeltsin’s soon-to-be cabinet. But, that is another story…

I was given permission to have a private photo session with the newly elected President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic when he came to the United States for his first meeting with President George Herbert Walker Bush. I set my studio up in lobby of the Madison Hotel in Washington DC. Knowing I would have little time with him, and that to struggle with translators would take away from my shooting time, I put a mirror surrounding my lens onto my camera.  He came down the elevator and was led over to where I was waiting. We shook hands, and I placed him where I wanted him. When I raised my camera and he saw himself in my mirror, his expression changed completely. “Oh look at my perfect pompadour” he must have thought, for that delicious smile was not for me. His bodyguards were having a ball, but not the State Department Secret Service who had not been told of my part in his schedule. They were not amused! President Bush was at the front door of the White House ready to greet him, and Yeltsin was with me behaving like a starlet! If looks could kill… They stopped us in our tracks and pulled him into his car.

My biggest thrill was when Hillary Clinton, planning a visit to Russia, asked me for his portrait to present as the official gift to Mrs. Yeltsin.