Posted in Behind the News

How I got that Mnuchin photo

, by Lauren Easton

During a routine press event at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington on Wednesday, AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin captured a striking image of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife holding a sheet of $1 bills that had people talking.

“The minute it happened I knew it was going to be a great photo, but I didn’t know it would turn into quite such an internet phenomenon,” Martin said.

Martin recounted how she got that photo:

My assignment that morning was to photograph Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza getting a glimpse of the first dollar notes with their signatures on them. There was one other still press photographer and a few television cameras at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing when Mnuchin arrived. He walked down the hall with his wife, Louise Linton, who I was surprised to see with him, and she was wearing full-length black leather gloves. I photographed them coming in together.  The media had been told that Mnuchin would first look at stacked sheets of new bills. He was taking a look at some as they were processed, when he was passed a sheet of bills to inspect. Then he turned to the camera and held up the bills, which I hadn’t expected him to do so early in the tour. Mnuchin turned his head and gestured to Linton to join him. He then had her help him hold up the sheet of bills for the photo. 
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, and his wife Louise Linton hold up a sheet of new $1 bills, the first currency notes bearing his and U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza's signatures, Nov. 15, 2017, at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
When I got to the assignment, I didn’t envision an image quite like this. Once I was there and Mnuchin gestured for Linton to come over and be in the photo op, then I knew for sure this image would get some interest. Based on their history and previous images that have been put out there -- I had a feeling that this would take off.  There is something about this couple that people are just fascinated by. There was added visual interest in the dynamic of the couple, and her outfit -- including the full-length leather gloves she was wearing. Her direct gaze at the camera and the touch of her gloved hand on his as they hold a sheet of money together seems to have struck a chord with many viewers.  We don’t orchestrate these things. As a photojournalist, I show up and photograph what happens in front of me. You really have to be ready for anything in Washington.

Read the AP news story.