Beating the Bushes

Who knew that it would be so hard to get pictures of George W. Bush as a child? Texas Monthly assistant art director Kathy Marcus surely didn’t, but she discovered the truth early on in the course of her photo research for this month’s special issue (see “Who Is George W. Bush,”). The 49-year-old, who has done most of the magazine’s photo research for nearly two decades, says she has seldom had such a difficult time getting pictures of someone “with the exception of a few very rich, very reclusive types.” Since Bush’s childhood has been written about so rarely, nothing was available from the usual sources. Undeterred, Marcus called schools Bush attended (some did not respond), his friends, and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station (whose archivists refused to let her comb through the more than 1,000,000 images there, instead releasing just 31 from a portfolio that had been handpicked by the governor’s press office). Marcus says she loves the investigative nature of her job, especially when it involves historical photos. One of her most challenging assignments had her digging up mug shots of every Texas death row killer whose sentence was effectively commuted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 (unfortunately, the photos never ran). “I’m tenacious,” she says. “If I have to find something, I’ll find it.” After this assignment, though, she’s bushed.

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