We meet up with Meredith Dake, Multimedia Editor for CQ Roll Call, a leading provider of congressional news, legislative tracking and advocacy services reporting from Washington, D.C. Getty Images is proud to represent CG Roll Call's current content and extensive archive. 

Meredith recalls discovering their photo archive room...

"Being fairly new to CQ Roll Call I had no idea what to expect when they told me that as Multimedia Editor I was going to be responsible for managing the photography department. I help curate the paper (yes, we still print those) and manage our archive along with other web duties. I thought the “managing the archive” part of my job would simply be maintaining and double-checking photos as they came in each day from award-winning Photographer Tom Williams and Photo Editor Bill Clark.

And then I saw our photo archive room.

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Giant filing cabinets are filled with photos dating back to the first days of the paper in the 1950s. Stored in this room are celebrities, congressmen and presidents over the years – many captured before their careers peaked. As I’ve looked through images in our archives, many of which are available on Getty Images (and more are added every day), I saw that our photographers have had a front seat to history in Washington, D.C. and the world. Roll Call photographers have not only captured the traditions, people and events happening in and around America’s Capitol building, they’ve also managed to visually preserve the community of the city.

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This was in a torn and stained folder labeled “police” hidden in our archive cabinets. The only labeling on the photo was a piece of tape folded over the top reading “Capitol Pistol Team 1956.” In another folder I found the same photo with the officers identified. 

Although this initially may be a little jarring, it actually shows the quirky humor that we have captured over the years at the Capitol. The photographers at Roll Call have prided themselves (and still do) on finding those human moments around the Hill that remind the world there is more happening than politics and showmanship.

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One area our photographers excel is capturing those human moments in the middle of the pomp and circumstance. The above photo by Tom Williams shows former Sen. Bob Dole saluting the casket of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye as his body laid in state in the Capitol rotunda. Dole and Inouye had known  each other since they were recovering from World War II battle wounds. Dole was assisted to the casket, declaring, "I wouldn't want Danny to see me in a wheelchair."

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There are many protests and events that happen around the Capitol campus daily, and it’s almost impossible to catch all of them. The effort by residents in the District of Columbia to gain independence and statehood has been a long battle with little indication of possible resolution. This 2007 photo by Bill Clark shows one of the many marches that has happened on the Capitol grounds in an effort to garner support from Congress for statehood.

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One of the most iconic photos in our recent archive is from Tom Williams catching Speaker of the House John Boehner with a cigarette. According to Williams, everyone around the Capitol knows Boehner is a big smoker, so Williams wanted to catch him in the act. Boehner and his staff are protected around the Capitol and aren't as easy to photograph on a regular basis or outside of a planned press environment. Williams said that he had only a few seconds after a press conference to capture the moment before Boehner’s staff realized he was being watched. It is the only image in Getty Images of Boehner smoking.

If there’s one thing digging through the archives has taught me, it’s that captions are king. Whether it’s writing the names on the back of a photo hanging on your wall or writing extensive context before filing, 50 years from now it’s possible someone won’t understand your common abbreviation or recognize a “famous person” in your shot. I’ve learned more about our Capitol's history by reading through photojournalists’ documentation than I could ever find in a history book.

It’s worth taking the extra time to document your work or your child’s birthday party. You might be capturing history.


About Meredith Dake

Meredith Dake moved to join the CQ Roll Call team in Washington, D.C., from her home in Oklahoma City in December of 2013. As Multimedia Editor, she manages all photo and video resources for CQ Roll Call and aids in website management. Outside of her specialty in breaking news video and editorial content, Meredith has a background in HR/training and development as well as energy-related legal research.   She currently lives in Maryland.

About CQ Roll Call

A wholly-owned subsidiary of The Economist Group, CQ Roll Call was formed by bringing together three companies – Congressional Quarterly, Roll Call and Capitol Advantage.

CQ Roll Call provides essential intelligence and grassroots advocacy resources to take action. As the premier source of timely news, objective facts and analysis, and coverage of elections and the politics of legislation, they keep their fingers on the pulse of the legislative process and give their clients the tools they need to maximize their influence. They are the ultimate insider, and their unmatched network of relationships and expertise has powered the productivity of those who rely on them since 1945.

Getty Images is proud to represent CG Roll Call's current content and extensive archive. Click to see the CQ Roll Call collection on Getty Images

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