September 20, 2012 8:00 AM EDT

Nearly 20 years after he photographed Bill Clinton during his first term in the White House, Mark Seliger reunited with the former president earlier this month to produce this week’s cover of TIME.

Clinton had just come off an electric speech at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, and his energy was palpable during the sitting. “He had a lot of enthusiasm about the big week, and he looked on top of the world,” Seliger said. “You could see it in his personality and his approach to life that he was content and very jovial.”

In an interview with Vanity Fair, former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden tells the magazine that the NSA is lying about Snowden not filing a formal complaint.
                        
                        NSA deputy director Rick Ledgett who investigated Snowden has claimed he never filed a complaint formally, or personally to any of his colleagues. Snowden denies this, saying he did make complaints, and some were over email to NSA's lawyers. In the interview, Snowden On what he calls the “post-terror generation’s” views on defending the Constitution: “What we’re seeing today in America is a new political movement that crosses party lines. This post-terror generation rejects the idea that we have to burn down our village in order to save it—that the only way to defend the Constitution is to tear it up.” (Seliger with Clinton at the cover shoot.)" />
In an interview with Vanity Fair, former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden tells the magazine that the NSA is lying about Snowden not filing a formal complaint. NSA deputy director Rick Ledgett who investigated Snowden has claimed he never filed a complaint formally, or personally to any of his colleagues. Snowden denies this, saying he did make complaints, and some were over email to NSA's lawyers. In the interview, Snowden "directly" challenges NSA to deny he went to NSA oversight and compliance bodies with complaints. Snowden also addresses rumors about the number of documents he has in his possession--including rumors he has potentially 1.7 million documents. Snowden says he has 'zero.' "What senior official is going to go in front of Congress and say, ‘We have no idea what he has, because the N.S.A.’s auditing of systems holding hundreds of millions of Americans’ data is so negligent that any high-school dropout can walk out the door with it?’” Snowden asks. On what he calls the “post-terror generation’s” views on defending the Constitution: “What we’re seeing today in America is a new political movement that crosses party lines. This post-terror generation rejects the idea that we have to burn down our village in order to save it—that the only way to defend the Constitution is to tear it up.”
Seliger with Clinton at the cover shoot.

Fittingly, Clinton makes the case for optimism—and how things are improving around the world—in his cover story. To illustrate that idea, Seliger had Clinton hold a simple and elegant globe as a prop during the sitting. “There are tons of photos where Clinton is smiling—he is naturally a very inspiring and happy person—but I wanted to show a more introspective moment because he is someone who has changed the way we see and do things, and I felt it was my responsibility to connect with him that way,” Seliger said.

The idea of photographs having a backstory and meaning served as the inspiration behind Seliger’s new online video series called Capture, which features photographers talking about their work alongside notable people outside of the industry, such as Clinton and musicians Mick Jagger and Willie Nelson. The latest episode even featured photographer Martin Schoeller talking about his breast-feeding cover shoot for TIME.

Seliger’s own sitting with the former president isn’t a likely contender for Capture, though. “I wish I could say I had a chance to get philosophical with Clinton, but it didn’t happen,” he says. “I had just 15 minutes, and it was all about work.”

Mark Seliger is a photographer based in New York City. See more of his work here.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

You May Also Like
EDIT POST