Don Winslow the former Executive Editor of News Photographer Magazine wrote an article for Down East Magazine about the passing of Former First Lady Barbara Bush. One of my archived White House photos was used as the lead photo in the article.
I just finished an interview with RAW TV, a multi-award-winning television and film production company based in the UK. They are producing a documentary called "Presidents at War" - it is comprised of two feature length films that will reveal the World War II experiences of the men who went on to become America’s Commanders in Chief. Taking a broadly chronological approach, they will document the war stories of Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and ending with George H.W Bush. This will air on the History Channel in Feb 2019.
The passing of Barbara Bush caused me to participate in numerous media interviews with ABC, CBS, Fox News and a few other smaller markets. I was asked to share Barbara Bush stories and memories on each interview. Personally it was very emotional for me to be doing that within a day of her passing and after the funeral service in Houston,Texas. In Houston the day before the funeral Marlin Fitzwater (former White House Press Secretary) and I joined Dana Perino on her Fox News show The Daily Briefing. The day of the funeral I was on FOX News with Shepard Smith. Each interview was a time for me to reflect and show some of my White House photos.
"You have been raised with Christ, then seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory." Col.3:1-4
This was the passage on the front of the program for Mrs. Bush's funeral in Houston,Texas April 21,2018. I was an invited guest to the private service that included all of the Bush family, President and Mrs. Obama, President and Mrs. Clinton, Mrs Trump and President and Mrs. Laura Bush. What a wonderful celebration of her life. Jeb Bush, one of her sons spoke and talked with humor about how Mrs. Bush was a great teacher but that her children weren't always the best students.
I did many media interviews showing my White House photos and telling stories about Mrs. Bush. I did break down and cry in one interview with KVUE in Austin, Texas. Fox News had me as a guest on Harris Faulkner's show, with Dana Perino and with Shepard Smith.
The night before the funeral service there was a White House Staff reunion which was great fun to catch up with former colleagues and to share Barbara Bush stories.
One of my favorite stories about Barbara Bush happened on my first day of work. I started with Vice President Bush in Dec 1983. My first day on the job the Vice President and Mrs. Bush were in South Florida. I went to the location where they were staying. The Vice President came out to greet me and took me inside to meet Mrs. Bush. She invited me to join them for breakfast. That was my first meeting with her. Later that day in Miami, Jeb Bush brought his new son Jeb Jr. by the hotel suite to meet his Grandfather for the first time. I took a few photos of Vice President Bush playing and hugging on his new grandson. A few weeks later I received a note from Mrs. Bush telling me how much she loved the photos. She said in her note. "As long as you take good photos of my grandchildren, you can go anywhere and do what ever you want." From that point on I was good to go.
On another occasion I was at their home in Kennebunkport where I photographed the daily morning CIA briefing. One morning during the briefing after I took a few photos, the President invited me to have breakfast with him while the briefing was going on. I realized I was hearing things I didn't need or want to know so I rushed out of there to give the President his privacy. The next day he invited me to join him again. I said no that I was fine. He invited me to go have breakfast any way so I went inside to their kitchen. I was having breakfast when Barbara Bush walked in. We greeted. President Bush finished his meeting, came in and invited me to go fishing. We went, got back around noon and he decided to take a nap but invited me to stay and have lunch. So there I was eating lunch when who walks in, Barbara Bush. She said, "Dave, I've only seen you twice today and both times you've been eating my food." My response was, "So what's for dinner?" Thankfully, I survived the "Enforcer" as she was often called by her children.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2018
STATEMENT BY THE OFFICE OF GEORGE H. W. BUSH
HOUSTON — Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care. It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others. She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.
This is one of my archived White House photos I took of Barbara Bush at her home at Walkers Point in Kennebunkport,Maine.
Dale Ross, the mayor of Georgetown, Texas, has become an environmentalists’ hero for deciding in 2015 to acquire all of the city’s electricity from renewable sources. The town gets most of its power from a wind farm in Amarillo, 500 miles away, and this summer will add solar energy from a West Texas farm.
Parade used one of my photos of Georgetown,Texas Mayor Dale Ross to illustrate this article. Parade has a circulation of 22 million and 50 million readers. I used a Nikon D810 with a Nikon 28-79 mm lens.
Charles Denyer author of Number One Observatory: The Home of the Vice President of the United States invited me to photograph former Vice President of the United States Dan Quayle in Scottsdale,AZ. It was fun to catch up and hear a few of his stories when he was the Vice President. Charles is working on a new book about the modern Vice Presidency. Hope to have an opportunity to photograph a few more of the former Vice Presidents for this new book project.
Presentation by David Valdez, former Presidential photographerWednesday, March 21, 6:00 PMBriscoe Administration Building, Room 304Sul Ross State University
I have been invited to speak at the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University in Alpine,Texas. If your in the area please come on by. I will speaking about my time as the Official White House photographer for President George H.W. Bush. Here is a link to the event: http://www.museumofthebigbend.com/David-Valdez/
If you also follow me on davidvaldezusa my Instagram page, you can see my latest best of photos for 2017. During 2017 I posted 426 photos and received 38,532 likes. Thanks for following me there and here on my website. This coming year should be even better with some exciting new projects starting soon. I also post photos on my Flickr account at davidvaldezusa Please follow me there to see more photos. Thanks.
December 1983 I was working as the Chief Photographer for Nations Business magazine published by The United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C.. At the time Nations Business was the largest selling business magazine in the country. I was on an assignment for Nations Business to photograph the 2nd Lady (the wife of the Vice President) Barbara Bush, who was placing the star on the top of the National Christmas Tree. While we were all waiting for the arrival of Barbara Bush, Scott Applewhite, Associate Press photographer told me that Vice President Bush's photographer was leaving . I thought immediately I would apply for the position. I had no idea how to do that so I did some research and found out that the Vice President photographer reported to the Vice President's Press Secretary. Shirley Green was the Vice President's Press Secretary so I wrote her a letter of introduction. Fortunately for me she was a Texan as am I so I received an invitation to meet with her. I was a cordial meeting, I brought a print portfolio but we mostly talked. After that meeting I was invited back to meet with the Chief of Staff Admiral Dan Murphy,Ret. That interview was very hard. He was pushing my buttons trying to make me upset. Fortunately I grew up as an Air Force brat. My father, Israel Valdez Sr. was a career U.S. Air Force Officer so I knew respect for authority. I had also been a photographer in the U.S.Air Force myself so facing a retired Navy Admiral was not too bad. But honestly when I left the interview with him I thought he hated me and I would never get the job.
Then I received an invitation to meet with Vice President George Bush. I was excited to be meeting the Vice President but it didn't really hit me till I was walking into his office in the Old Executive Office Building that I would be meeting alone with the Vice President of the United States. He greeted me and was so warm and gracious that he put me at ease. He showed me around his office where he had many photos of his grand children on display. He was telling me I would be with him in public and private and that we needed to have a trust between us. I would be exposed to personal and private situations and classified information. It was important to him that we had a good relationship. As we were having this conversation I realized he thought I had been offered a job and I at that point I realized no one had talked to me about the salary. I boldly asked him if he knew what the salary was. He had no idea but he said let's call Admiral Murphy so he did. Well Admiral Murphy's office was right next door and the walls in the Old Executive Office building are thin. I could hear him yelling, "What! He's asking you about salary?" Well I was hired anyway.
Life would never be the same after that. The decision Shirley Green made changed my life. Thanks Shirley.
From that day on till January 20,1993 I was running around the world on assignment with George H.W. Bush.
Below are just a few photos from that time. Here is also a link to photos of Vice President Bush at the Bush Presidential Library. One thing that most people don't know is that when I worked for the Vice President I was an employee of the United States Senate because the Vice President is President of the Senate.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.