The Poynter Institute interviewed P.K. Weis about getting the chance to take the first published photos of Gabrielle Giffords since the Jan. 8 shooting.
Weis, who has known Giffords for more than a decade, said in a phone interview that he didn’t know what to expect when he arrived at the hospital.
“There were a lot of emotional highs and lows going into it, but once I saw her, all that melted away,” said Weis, a longtime photojournalist who was photo editor of the Tucson Citizen until the paper folded. “A lot had changed since [the shooting], so it was a pretty dramatic experience to walk in there and see her smiling and happy and enthusiastic and just absolutely full of life.”
Weis got to know her staffers well when he photographed Giffords during her 2010 campaign. Shortly after the shooting, he told Giffords’ staff that he would be willing to photograph her once she felt ready. Giffords’ press adviser Mark Kimble later called Weis and asked if they could take him up on his offer.