The Secret Service doesn’t like dogs…

It was 1988, I was moving to Los Angeles and I needed business cards. A newspaper buddy was a designer and he offered to do it for me. When he first showed me his design I instantly loved it. “Los Angeles is a hip place,” he said, “ and this is a hip design.”

The Los Angeles Times was my first client when I got to town and I had only been there a week when they assigned me to photograph Vice President George H.W. Bush’s arrival at LAX. I had many dealings with the Secret Service over the years and never had a problem before that day. Back then; it took a while to get a new press pass to hang around your neck so I showed up at the event knowing I’d have to do some fast-talking.

Secret Service agents are not the type who enjoys fast-talking and I was in trouble from the start. “ So let me get this straight, you have no press pass, no picture ID and you handed me a business card with a picture of a dog, are you kidding me”, the agent asked. Before I could come up with an answer he followed. “Is that your dog?” No sir, I replied. “You expect me to let a guy with no press pass, no picture ID and a dog on his business card in to photograph the Vice President?” he added with enough attitude to make me feel about six inches tall.

He walked away for a moment and that’s when I realized all was not lost. I popped open one of those zippered pocket in your camera bag you never use and pulled out my seldom-used passport. The agent let me inside and offered a valuable piece of advice. “I’d get rid of that business card.”

You may need more than a German Shepard on your business card to get this close to Vice President Bush. Nikon F3, 35mm lens and Tri-X film.

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