Ted Kennedy addresses his supporters after winning the 1980 Ma. Democratic presidential primary over President Jimmy Carter (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).
Ted Kennedy seemed like a strong candidate for the 1980 Democratic Party presidential nomination, until his candidacy was derailed by a terrible Roger Mudd TV interview and Jimmy Carter’s strategy to remain in the White House during the Iran hostage crisis. On this March evening, he had won the Ma. primary, and I shot many photos of him speaking very animatedly to his followers about his vision for the country. He didn’t interact with the crowd, leaving quickly after he spoke, so I had to settle for the traditional shot, speaking at the podium. When covering politics, it’s essential to get close-up photos of the key people, preferably with compelling gestures or expressions, and Kennedy was at his best that evening, speaking with passion, vision, and confidence to his supporters, while providing animated gestures for all the photographers. I also included his famous nephew and niece, John, Jr. and Caroline, supporting him in the background.
1) Politicians, because they are famous people, are great subjects for personality pictures.
2) Gestures demonstrate personality traits and make ordinary photos more powerful.
3) Include elements like the podium, other supporters, family and signs to provide more detail and depth.