Published: Saturday November 6, 2010 MYT 3:00:00 PM
Updated: Saturday November 6, 2010 MYT 6:19:32 PM

Attention to details boosts Hillary Clinton's image

PUTRAJAYA: When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came to town a few days ago, it turned out to be a valuable lesson and experience for Bernama photographer Harry Salzman Abu Bakar.

For him, the detailed preparations for America's highest-ranking diplomat ought to be emulated by other leaders and officials who want to get the best out of their pictures.

What was asked by the US officials and aides accompanying Clinton several minutes before the picture-taking ceremony might seem minor but the attention to detail had a wonderful effect: it enabled the pictures to be more outstanding.

"As the only photographer from the official media entrusted for the task, I was invited by the US officials to discuss about taking pictures of the former First Lady of the United States.

"I was told of the colour of Secretary Clinton's clothing beforehand so that I could make adequate preparations for the spatial lighting," said Harry Salzman who was assigned to the signing ceremony of three agreements between Malaysia and the US at the Prime Minister's Office here on Tuesday.

"The officials also asked me on the best standing position for the handshakes, either facing the front or move slightly to the side, after Clinton had signed the agreements.

"After I had agreed to the position that I wanted, the officials then marked on the floor where Secretary Clinton should stand. The end result was that Clinton looked fit and smart amidst the people around her," said Harry Salzman. Harry Salzman said even the way Clinton held the folder after the signing also showed her appreciation for the ceremony and signalled that "it was a serious business".

The photographer also witnessed how Clinton officials placed great importance on how the US "Stars and Stripes" flag should appear.

"A clothes hanger was used to prop it up from behind the flag so that it appeared lively at the signing ceremony," he added.

In addition, the visitors' book and the documents to be signed had been marked earlier to enable Clinton to know where exactly she should sign.

"This meant that there was no necessity for certain officials to be present alongside the dignitaries. Even the curtain backdrop was given plenty of attention. A dark coloured backdrop without any letterings or wordings on the signing ceremony was preferred," said Harry Salzman.

The officials explained that they preferred a dark coloured backdrop as opposed to a light-coloured or shiny one so that the spatial lighting would be more accommodating to the camera, he said. "Just imagine the attention to details accorded to their leader in picture-taking alone," he said.

Harry Salzman was also full of praise for Clinton for her gestures which were appreciated by photographers.

"She looked very lively although the pictures were just still pictures. The way she moved her hands, her broad smile and her gaze into the lenses made a lot of difference.

"I hope other leaders and officials would be able to emulate the examples of Clinton and her team although it may just be for taking pictures. Such pictures have great impact.

"A picture tells a thousand words," Harry Salzman said. Bernama