July-Sept. 2015 →
About the project:
Last-minute decorations, ill-fitting suits, bad food, too many cameras, the guest-of-honor is always late, the events are either too crowded or no one shows up, half the people are wearing khaki, everyone wants to talk about politics and religion….
The New Hampshire presidential primary is the worst party you can imagine. And it goes on for months.
Starting in July 2015, I have photographed Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as they hit the campaign trail in New Hampshire, from meet-and-greets in public libraries to brewery tours to balloon festivals to gun stores to small town diners to function halls to community centers to university auditoriums. Many of the locations have been hosting candidates for decades, and they’re starting to show their age. The work has continued beyond the primary, as well. I’ve photographed aspects of the general campaign, the nominating conventions, voters across the country, and election night, all with the generous support of a variety of magazines and newspapers.
I’ve taken a different approach as I photograph this story, using a harsh and direct flash, evocative of early press photography. The campaigns usually bring in their own lighting and backdrops, and this technique is a deliberate attempt to subvert their control of the optics of politics. Shooting in this way reveals the edges of this political spectacle: cold food left on a buffet line, duct tape holding up the banners, wiring in the corner of the room, bored staffers and journalists, binder clips keeping the American flag in perfect posture. The work is not meant to be critical of any candidates, but rather to focus on the banality of these events as they are set up, performed, and taken down again and again and again.