Asha Huntsman

The assignment read: Media availability for Huntsman family with new adopted daughter, Asha. Governor’s Mansion, Salt Lake City. I figured that “media availability” did not mean I would be having some exclusive time with the Huntsman family as they brought their newly adopted daughter home to Utah and introduced her to her new brothers and sisters. “Media availability” could only mean that every TV station and newspaper in town would be there. And I was right.

The Huntsman family came in and sat down, and began to talk about their experience bring Asha home. The newborn Asha had been abandoned on the side of the road in Gujarat only hours after her birth. She was taken to an orphanage and from that horrific start has ended up adopted into a clearly loving family. It’s quite a dramatic story. Now the task was to get dramatic photographs from a photo op, and to make sure I was getting different (and hopefully better) photographs than the photographer from the other newspaper in town.

The key was to sit back and watch for intimate moments between Asha and her new family. While the governor talked and the TV cameras filmed the static scene of the family on the couch, I stayed focused tight on Asha and her sisters, who would periodically reach in to feel her hair, hold her hand, or tickle her feet. While the event was basically no more than a press conference, these were real moments between sisters who had met within the previous two hours.

The photos kept coming and coming until the governor’s PR guy said, “We have time for one more question.” Then it was over. As I walked to my car, I pictured the many moments the Huntsman family will share through the holidays with their new baby girl. I hope they have a camera nearby.

This post also appeared on my work blog, on the Tribune’s website.

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