Tipper Gore's new career – what the former second lady
is doing now to capture and improve the world.
Tipper Gore was never content sit to on the sidelines. When her
husband, Al, was a congressman, she chaired the Congressional Wives Task
Force to focus attention on the effect media violence has on children. The
Parents' Music Resource Center she co-founded a decade later was an outgrowth
of those meetings. It forged an agreement between the recording industry
and the National Parent Teacher Association to label products containing
explicit and violent lyrics. Gore's first book, Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated
Society, traced the process. She also served as an advisor on mental health
to former President Bill Clinton and was a vocal advocate for education
and the homeless.
This year, she launched a new career based on her lifelong love
of photography. During her husband's tenure as vice president, she turned
her lens on the world and snapped thousands of photos. They run the gamut
from world leaders and legends to ordinary citizens, landscapes and still
These photos are part of a permanent collection being sold for
the first time through the 14 Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture showrooms
across the country. Gore will make a personal appearance when the exhibit
opens in Boston on December 12.
The new collaboration provides a permanent revenue stream for Al
and Tipper Gore's The Climate Project, an outgrowth of the vice president's
documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, the third highest grossing documentary
ever behind Fahrenheit 9/11 and March of the Penguins, grossing nearly $24
million at the theatre.
The Climate Project trains volunteers to spread his global warming
message. Industries can begin by reducing pollutants in the air through
use of cleaner fuels. Business leaders (and all citizens) can purchase energy-efficient
hybrid cars, energy-saving appliances and office equipment and energy-efficient
PINK recently spoke to Gore about The Climate Project and her new
PINK: How did you get into photography?
Tipper Gore: When Al gave me a 35mm camera in 1973, I took a photography
class at Nashville State Tech. A picture I took of him shaving caught my
instructor's attention and he offered me a job at the Nashville Tennessean.
PINK: Did your tenure as second lady help or hinder your photographic
TG: Photography was a passion, but I never thought about it as
a career until Mitchell (Gold) and Bob (Williams) suggested it.
PINK: How did the collaboration come about?
TG: Mitchell and Bob helped us decorate our Nashville home and
asked why I didn't have any of my photos on the walls. After looking through
my albums, they asked if they could select photos from my travels to exhibit
and sell at their stores.
PINK: What is it like to launch a new career now?
TG: The timing is great. The kids are out of the nest, and I have
time to reexamine my life. It's also a way to help support our Climate Project
(theclimateproject.org). By training more volunteers, we can spread the
word around the world and make a difference.
PINK: When Al was vice president, you said you used the camera
lens as self expression. Can you explain?
TG: There were always people around me during those years. Taking
pictures was one thing I could do in the midst of others that was "me." It
took me back to my roots.
PINK: You've taken photos of historic moments like Menachem Begin
and Yasser Arafat shaking hands on the White House steps and of legends
like Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela. And other pictures are of ordinary
people. Do you have favorites?
TG: I like the photos that tell a story like the one of the gaunt
Russian ballerinas longing to sample hors d'oeuvres from the table and the
beaming 90-year old Tennessee woman who is so full of life. I also love
the landscapes taken in the High Sierras.
PINK: Once you turned your lens on a pack of photographers and
snapped away. What was their reaction?
TG: They loved it. I sent them each a copy.
PINK: Do you still take photos?
TG: Oh yes, everywhere I go. But my grandchildren are my favorite