kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

It was hot. It was damp. And it was raining. The rain wasn't so much falling as it was suspended in the air, you pushed through it rather than having it fall down upon you in the traditional way. The rain was hot, like a shower it soaked my vest, plastered my hair to my head, made my shoes squish, but it didn't evaporate, it had no cooling powers. All this and I had to shove my way through 3,000 people to photograph John Kerry the day before he was to, presumably, get nominated by his party. The Kerry camp had booked the steps of the art museum (called the "rocky steps" on the press kit). Nobody knew where press check in was. People pointed left, people pointed right, police had no idea or vague ideas. One said "around back". I went around back. Three very very serious guys from the Secret Service emphatically assured me in the most humorless way imaginable, that i was _not_ going in that way. "Absolutely not. Go around front and get in line." The line through the metal detectors was at least two hours long, I wasn't looking forward to standing in the baking hot sun when I could be hobnobbing it up in the press tent, but I got in line, waited, and went through the metal detectors with everybody else. When I got to the top of the steps, I saw that press check-in was indeed "around the back" where I'd been initially. I checked in, just as Kerry was going on stage. Made my way around front and immediately bumped into Molly Bingham, who was Al Gore's photographer in 2000, but more recently fameous for going missing in Iraq (she seems to have been found) sporting a pair of Leicas. The lighting situation was pretty bad from down in front, very backlit sky. I eventually moved over to the press riser and tried to get some shots of Kerry with city hall in the background thinking "Philadelphia Magazine". I ended up staying there for most of the event, got back down on the ground for the fireworks at the end, but as soon as kerry got off the stage, the secret service made all the photographers get off of the ground. Pool photographers up on the stage, everybody else up on the risers. I'd never seen that much security. I wasn't sure I was getting anything good from there but I kept shooting, mostly because everybody else was still blazing away. I noticed they never took their eyes away from their cameras. That must be how they ended up shooting for the AP i guess. monkey see monkey do, so i shove my camera back to my eyeball and pretty much fire any time i can see his face. The guy next to me has a D1h and every time Kerry looks up, he gets off 8 or 10 frames to my 2. lucky bastard. Anyway, in the end, it turned out that my best shot was not a closeup or a wide angle from 4 feet away, but the stuff i got from 40 yards away while he was working the crowd on his way out. Also, i got a lot of personal satisfaction in the realization that I liked my shot better than the Philadelphia Inquirers.

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