February 6, 2014 4:00 AM EST

On Friday, January 31, we arrived at the Élysée Palace in Paris to photograph the French President François Hollande for TIME’s cover. We prepared four different set ups: A black background, a white background and two locations within the palace that would make for strong environmental shots. The key on a shoot like this is to be really well prepared. My crew moves like a ballet, so the portrait session kind of has this flow.

When the president walked in, he was pressed for time. After initial introductions, I normally don’t interact much, so the relationship is between the subject and the camera. This gives me a much more authentic picture.

Nationwide, teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates have plunged, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and education organization that works to protect access to safe, legal abortions. Between 1990 and 2010, the national pregnancy rate for 15- to 19-year-olds had fallen by 51%, with approximately 614,000 occurring in 2010. A drop in pregnancies was seen across racial and ethnic groups, though Hispanic and black teens get pregnant at nearly three times the rate of their white peers. In 1990, the white teen pregnancy rate was reportedly 86.6 per 1,000 versus 223.8 per 1,000 for black teens. In 2010, the rates had fallen to 37.8 per 1,000 for whites and 99.5 per 1,000 for blacks. Among Hispanic teens, the pregnancy rate fell from a high of 169.7 per 1,000 in 1992 to 83.5 per 1000 in 2010. Similarly, there was a 66% decline in abortions: in 2010, there were a reported 14.7 abortions per 1,000 women. Teen Birthrates fell by 44% between 1991 and 2010, with about 34.4 births per 1,000 women. [caption id="attachment_88664" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Guttmacher Institute[/caption] "The decline in the teen pregnancy rate is great news,” says lead author Kathryn Kost in a statement. “Other reports had already demonstrated sustained declines in births among teens in the past few years; but now we know that this is due to the fact that fewer teens are becoming pregnant in the first place. It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off.” In response to the decline, the vice president of education for Planned Parenthood Leslie Kantor said in a statement that the organization was “thrilled.” She added, “Planned Parenthood is thrilled to see a record low in teen pregnancy rates in this country,” said Kantor.  
Courtesy Marco Grob

We only had seven minutes to make the two different studio portraits, one of those ended up on the cover of TIME International. I was also able to sneak in the two environmental pictures, which both ran in the magazine.

There are different ways to get a good portrait. There are a lot of photographers who have a much different approach. But my subjects often don’t have time to get used to the fact that they’re being photographed. Which probably adds some immediacy.


Marco Grob is a contract photographer for TIME. He previously photographed major figures from the civil rights movement for One Dream, TIME’s multimedia commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. View more of his work for TIME here or on his website

This piece is presented as told to Richard Conway, Reporter/Producer for TIME LightBox. Follow him on twitter @RichardJConway


Contact us at letters@time.com.

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