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Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Ocean City Photojournalist Captures Historic Happenings

Christy Bowe was born in Washington

By Karen Knight

OCEAN CITY – For photojournalist Christy Bowe, meeting and shaking hands with seven U.S. presidents over the years has been a highlight of a career that has placed her center stage at many historic occasions.
She has photographed five presidents, from Bill Clinton to Joe Biden, eight U.S. presidential inaugurations, the confirmation hearings of seven U.S. Supreme Court justices, members of the royal family, captured the horrors of 9/11, and covered two presidential impeachments.
“When going on a cross-country trip with my friends when I was 20,” she recalled, “I began taking pictures and documenting my travels. After I came back, I realized that the pictures did not represent what I saw and my little cheap camera was not conveying the true story I wanted to tell, so, at that point, I bought my first 35 mm camera and went about learning how to use it.”
Now the founder of ImageCatcher News Service, based in Bethesda, Maryland, where she spends her time when not in Ocean City, where she maintains a residence, Bowe is a member of The White House press corps, and her work has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone. 
She recently won the 2021 Paris Photo Prize for International Photography in the state of the world category for her photos of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“I had a wonderful experience photographing the people in the remote villages of the Himalayas,” she recalled about some of her career highlights. “That was amazing. As far as my Washington career, the day my credentials at both the White House and Capitol Hill changed over to reflect my company name – ImageCatcher News – was definitely a high point. Meeting and shaking hands with seven U.S. presidents over the years has been another.”
“I like to capture candid moments that happen,” she added. “When covering events at The White House, often those may happen before or after what I was actually there to cover. It always pays to look around and see who is in the room, even in the back.”
As Bowe learned how to use her camera, she developed a passion for documenting people in her surroundings. She eventually met a member of the press corps who introduced her to the photo editor at the United Press International (UPI) wire service, in 1990.
“Along the way, I met Sarah McClendon, a well-known White House reporter back in the day, who was willing to give me a chance and was first credentialed through her news bureau,” Bowe recalled. “Later, as she got older, I started my own little photo news bureau with her blessing.”
The most challenging aspects of Bowe’s job are the physical demands of carrying heavy lenses, cameras, and ladders, waiting for hours for a shot, “then competing with a lot of other photographers for that shot and trying to make mine different than the person next to me,” Bowe said.
“I love shooting the feature stories that allow for you to hang out with your subject and experience their day-to-day lives,” she noted. “Most of what I do is very access-restricted and highly competitive, with a limited time to get the job done.”
Bowe’s passion for capturing human moments during some of the world’s biggest events can be viewed in her new book, Eyes That Speak. Published by SheaDean Publishing, an imprint of BookLogix, the book captures significant moments from her White House photography career, recounting the lessons and adventures that came along the way, and how they influenced her photographic style.
Finishing her book and getting it out there to inform others what her job is like in a primarily male-dominated field is another career goal of Bowe’s. 
“I hope it can help those who are either in my field or considering photojournalism as a career inside the beltway. I also hope my book will remind folks about some of the historic events that have taken place in Washington over the past few decades.”
For anyone considering photojournalism as a career, Bowe said, “It pays to work well and be considerate to those around you, because sooner or later you may be working alongside them again. It pays to keep aware of your surroundings.”
She thinks “it is a good idea when starting to get used to taking pictures of people. There is a wealth of subjects all around each of us. Take pictures of the people you live with and those in your neighborhood if they will let you. Ask them first and let them know you will be photographing them over several weeks, which will allow you an opportunity to practice your timing on when to hit the shutter to get those cherished candid pictures.”
“I also would advise anyone starting out in photojournalism to do some stringing/freelancing work at a wire service to see if you like the pace” she added.
To contact Karen Knight, email

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