Although you may not have known it, chances are you’ve seen one of J. Scott Applewhite’s photographs. The two-time Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist is on the scene for nearly every major event in Washington, from Presidential inaugurations to the swearing-in of Supreme Court justices.
Now Applewhite has unknowingly become a Capitol Hill celebrity, and it’s not just because of the photographs he takes. It’s because Washington insiders are obsessed with taking photographs of him.
It all started in 2012, when a group of journalists on the Hill became amazed by Applewhite’s ability to be on the scene for every important photo-op.
“If you’re in a committee meeting… he’s there. Walking around the basement of the Capitol…he’s there. Impromptu news conference…oh, wait – Scotty is already there,” one told Business Insider in an emailed statement (they all asked to remain anonymous.)
This gaggle of writers began snapping pictures of Applewhite wherever they spotted him. Then they’d email the photos to each other. Soon, those email chains grew into a Flickr account, and in October of 2013, they created an Instagram account called ScottyShots1.
“Was it mean spirited? No way. Was it a crush? Well, maybe. Mainly, Scotty just makes us smile.”
ScottyShots1 has become a must-follow Instagram for political junkies. Its 563 quality followers include MSNBC correspondent Luke Russert, the House Government Oversight Committee, and even Speaker of the House John Boehner. Everyone from Congressional staffers to journalists to Capitol Police officers submit shots of Applewhite wherever they happen to spot him.
Why are people so obsessed with photographing Applewhite?
Those who run the account think it’s simply because they, “really like Scotty.” While much of what happens in Congress is serious, consequential, and divisive, the administrators of ScottysShots1 are sure to keep things “positive and fun.”
One user commented on a post saying, “The feed has made life worth living! I <3 you #scottiepie.”
The best part? Applewhite didn’t find out about the account until last year, when a network television employee at the White House mentioned it to him, according to the account’s administrators. Applewhite did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
After decades of covering Washington’s key players, it seems Applewhite is thriving in the unfamiliar territory in front of the camera.
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