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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Big Upset in Close Election

When photographing famous people, look for them showing emotion or having a natural reaction to a situation, and avoid the standard head shot.

U. S. Representative John Anderson, underdog Republican candidate from Illinois, wipes his face as the election returns come in during a tight 1980 Ma. presidential primary, where Anderson finished in a virtual dead heat with Ronald Reagan, and later became the third party candidate for President of the United States (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
The Massachusetts Republican Presidential primary was an important vote to legitimize Illinois Republican Representative John Anderson’s candidacy nationwide. He was running on the Republican ticket against Ronald Reagan and several other formidable challengers. This primary was so important that Anderson was in Massachusetts campaigning on Election Day, and would remain until the returns came in that night. Anderson made a great showing, finishing neck-and-neck with favorite Ronald Reagan, so I headed to his Boston campaign headquarters before the vote count was final. Because of this surprising result, I dearly wanted more than just the typical shot of a candidate behind a podium, with hands gesturing. After the final tally was in, Anderson stood behind the podium to thank his supporters, but when he was done, he walked through the crowd, spoke with them and shook hands. The media followed close behind, which made things very cramped, but I was able to shoot a photo of him trying to cool off from the hot TV lights and intense attention, wiping his glasses, as an aide tried to move the crowd of media back. Poor Anderson just wanted space to actually meet and greet the people who voted for him, but the large media contingent made it very hard to do. Anderson’s Ma. success launched him to later become the Independent candidate for President against Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter.

3 Tips:
1) One potentially great political campaign photo is the candidate dealing with the crush of supporters and media coverage.
2) Try not to settle on the common picture of the candidate speaking from the podium.
3) The best way to get unique photos is to follow the candidate through the crowds at rallies, and capture spontaneous emotion during interactions with family, friends, supporters, and media.

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