Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bathroom Break

If you've been thinking that the photo of President Bush noting his need for a "bathroom break" while at the UN was a fake, here's the skinny from the photographer who shot it; via Gelf Magazine:

Rick Wilking left New Orleans a few days ago, after spending almost a week documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He came to New York to document the 9/11 anniversary and to cover the UN World Summit. While the photographs he took in New Orleans are more powerful images, it is a silly note from the president to Condoleezza Rice that he captured that has garnered the most attention.
Yes, the note is real. And yes, the president really wrote it. “It was shot at a pretty good distance,” Wilking tells Gelf. “I had no idea what was on the paper.” Until, that is, the editors at Reuters enlarged it. “I was just as surprised as you,” Wilking says.
“I’m curious to know what the White House thinks,” Wilking says, but adds that he is not worried about getting into any sort of trouble about the picture.

Perhaps one reason Wilking is not afraid is that he just underwent one of the more Hellish weeks in American history. In his account of his time in New Orleans for Reuters, Wilking describes the scenes of death and violence that he encountered in the days after the hurricane but before the National Guard restored order. “It was bordering on total anarchy,” says Wilking. “The bad guys were taking advantage. They sensed blood in the water,” he adds, saying that the scene reminded him of covering the war in Haiti.


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