In this era of image-consciousness, unguarded human moments are few. I had just left the Senate one fall day last year. There, ahead of me, walking alone, was Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D) of New York. The Senate legend, who retired early this year, earned widespread respect from his constituents and peers. I approached and asked him if could walk with him and shoot a few pictures. He agreed. We walked the Capitol grounds and talked about ... the New York Yankees. He'd ridden the train to the stadium as a boy. Then he stopped to take in the towering trees surrounding us, and I was given a quick lesson on the development of Capitol Hill.
What's your favorite place in Washington? I asked. Senator Moynihan paused, and said: "Well, this isn't too bad, is it?" I nodded in agreement. He walked back to the Senate to continue his work. I left him, feeling a sense of accomplishment: I'd been able to make pictures that went beyond the confines of rope lines and press secretaries. But I also felt grateful to have had a brief personal moment with a larger-than-life politician.
Washington, D.C.-based Andy Nelson joined the Monitor in 1997. His image of a Firestone executive won the "On Capitol Hill" division of the 2001 White House News Photographers' Association competition.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor