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Pink Magazine

Picture Perfect

Tipper Gore's new career – what the former second lady is doing now to capture and improve the world.

Tipper Gore 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 lives.

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 light bulbs.

PINK recently spoke to Gore about The Climate Project and her new career.

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 career?

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 ( 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 subjects.

President, Southeast Chapter, The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
Copyright © Mickey Goodman, Freelance Writer. All rights reserved.

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