City Desk

Longtime Mayoral Photographer Lateef Mangum Fired

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty had a press conference this morning, but something was missing: That would be Lateef Mangum, official photographer for four District mayors. He was unceremoniously fired Friday evening by Fenty aides.

"I was working at the pleasure of the mayor," said Mangum, a press conference fixture and friend to legions of city hall reporters. "I've had almost 15 great years of working in the mayor's office. I really enjoyed the work and the great people I've met over the years, and I really can't ask for more."

Mangum's been the official mayoral photographer since 1994, when he started shooting Sharon Pratt late in her term after a presentation he put together while working at D.C. General Hospital caught her eye. Marion Barry kept him on after he beat Pratt, and Anthony A. Williams enjoyed his services for eight years. Mangum was ready to exit government service once before, when Williams' term ended in early 2007. At the time, Williams offered Mangum three months' severance if he wanted to leave. He took it, prompting a Washington Post profile by Elissa Silverman.

But Fenty ended up begging him to stay on. "I said I'd be glad to come back under one condition: no evenings or weekends, unless it's a very special event," he remembers. "They agreed, so I started doing my thing with Fenty."

Mangum, 59, got the news Friday evening from communications director Mafara Hobson and aide Sara Lasner. The news came as a surprise, he says, and he was given no reason for his termination. "I guess they want someone to cover him on weekends—track meets or whatever," he says.

Hobson declined to comment on Mangum's departure. LL suggested a platitudinous line for her—you know, something like, "On behalf of Mayor Adrian Fenty, we thank him for his service and wish him the best."

Nope: "I don't know legally if I can do that," she said. She promised to check with legal counsel and perhaps get back to LL with a quote.

Mangum says he's been given severance, "but it's not three months." He says he's looking forward to doing freelance work, including possibly traveling to New Orleans.

His final pictures are now posted on the District's home page. "It'll be interesting to see," Mangum says. "Those are my last pictures; anything afterward you can always compare to see if the quality's gone up or down."

Photo By Darrow Montgomery

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  • Q

    Good Grief...after firing department heads and others, he's even fired the photographer! Who's next...the shoe shine boy, the make-up person, the barber, the driver???

  • rev. alimayu

    I have worked with lateef with my years with Mayor Barry's Office of Communications. We collaborated on many projects together and he was and still is the consumate professional and a true genius. He was not only a photographer but developed fantastic video presentations that took him all the way to China with mayor williams. This so-called new professionalism that has slithered into our precious city and now holds our government hostage has forgotten the first principle of government, "to serve." Our city was not served by losing such a dedicated and professional and "good and decent" man.

  • Karma

    Lateef Magnum was one of the last people left in the Fenty administration with any integrity.

    Also, Lateef was the only person left in the Fenty administration that did NOT work on his campaign and voted for Linda Cropp. Qualifications, crendentials mean nothing, the only ranking factors needed for a job with Fenty are if you or your parents wrote a big check for the Fenty mayoral campaign, or you were out their trailing behind Fenty knocking on folks' doors at 7am.

    Sara Lasner, Mafara Hobson, Carrie you all have to look at yourselves in the mirror in the morning.

    Perhaps Lateef snapped a shot of Fenty visiting his child's mother at the Capitol Quarter townhomes?

  • 9/6/95

    this man was one of the best photographer ever and i fell bad that the mayor is leaving a good person to no decisions but to leave but lateef is going to make millions with out the mayor or anyone else that's a hater but all he needs is him and that camera and the jobs done if fenty runs for mayor again you do not have my vote.