UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Date: 21.11.18
Author: Louise Haywood-Schiefer
Tags:, , , , , , , , ,

As I waltzed up to the manned gates at Downing Street having been assured my name was on the list, I soon discovered it very definitely wasn’t. Standing with my back to crowds of onlooking tourists I had one, then two policemen check, then make a phone call, then five minutes pass, receive another phone call, then finally I was allowed in. I was early for the shoot but those five minutes standing worrying if I was going to be let in, already sent my stomach churning. When you’re photographing a Prime Minister your stress emotions (and breakfast) are very close to the surface.
I got through security then faltered again at the next door which was the entrance to number 10. Do you ring the bell? Or knock? I stood for a few beats just staring at it before yet another policeman told me to just walk up and it would open. Duh, of course they would have someone the other side surveying- probably wondering what the hell I was doing.
When I was finally inside I was ushered to the waiting room where instead of being able to relax I became more wired from the sound of about five incessant ticking clocks, many of which were slightly out of time. I wonder if they do that on purpose, just to put visitors on edge?

The time came for me and James Cleverley MP, who was interviewing, to be led through to her office. I got to set up a light whilst the interview took place and work out a plan for the five minutes I would be afforded at the end. Fortunately she had a large purple fabric door which looked great as a background and matched her attire perfectly. Considering time was short it actually felt quite long in the moment. We chatted about the ‘209 Women’ project we are both involved in, and of course the colour of the door that I’d become obsessed with, and it felt relaxed all in all. Time was up and after a rapid pack up I left with adrenaline rushing. It’s an amazing honour for me to photograph a Prime Minister, let alone a female one in the centenary anniversary. Personal politics aside, that’s quite a tribute to those who fought for the vote, it’s just a shame there’s only been two over a hundred year period- more equality work still needs to be done!

 

 

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