This is the worst party I've ever been to.
February 1, 2016 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Starting in July 2015, I have photographed Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as they hit the campaign trail in New Hampshire[.] [I’ve used] 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[.]… 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. [via mefi projects]
posted by Going To Maine (70 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Okay, I'm thick - how in the hell do you advance to the next pictures or scroll down to see the photos of the Democratic candidates?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:43 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Specifically was the "Smoke a cigar with Ted Cruz house party" the worst one?
posted by thelonius at 1:45 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


You have to scroll to the right to see more pictures. Yeah, it's terrible.
posted by octothorpe at 1:45 PM on February 1, 2016 [13 favorites]


Thanks for posting, Going to Maine. EmpressCallipygos, just click on the big picture and it will advance to the right. You can also use the horizontal scrollbar. You should be able to scroll down to click on the Democrats or just go here.
posted by msbrauer at 1:45 PM on February 1, 2016


EmpressCallipygos: dumb photographer trick #492: horizontal scrolling.

Why do photographers always have such terrible site designs?
posted by ryanrs at 1:46 PM on February 1, 2016 [31 favorites]


Horizontal scrolling is the worst. But these photos are great. Who are all these young people hanging around republican rallys? There must be a whole other universe out there, worlds I can't even imagine.
posted by dis_integration at 1:47 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Really good stuff. IMO this project backs up What It's Saying About Art in a way that feels very substantial and hard to argue with-- very different from more suggestive projects. It defends its artistic thesis in a way that even someone culturally hostile to Art With A Message couldn't pretend to misunderstand with any honesty.
posted by threeants at 1:48 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


The photos are amazing. And I very much enjoyed scrolling through them with a click of my trackpad. It had a great 1980s National Geographic feel.
posted by ambrosen at 1:48 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I realize this could theoretically be the wrong side of a hall with 10,000 people in it, but this beautifully sums up Kasich in a nutshell.
posted by zachlipton at 1:50 PM on February 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


Interesting stuff. I agree that the photography looked very 1980s.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:52 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I realize this could theoretically be the wrong side of a hall with 10,000 people in it, but this beautifully sums up Kasich in a nutshell.

Especially since at first glance I thought that was a sniper rifle or something in between the dudes on the left.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:53 PM on February 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


. Who are all these young people hanging around republican rallys?

There with their parents, most of the time.
posted by emjaybee at 1:53 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


How badly do they want to be President? This badly.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:54 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Especially since at first glance I thought that was a sniper rifle or something in between the dudes on the left.

Same here. My first thought was that someone should Photoshop a dildo in its place.
posted by slogger at 1:54 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh man, the Hillary/One Way shot tickles me to no end.
posted by carsonb at 1:56 PM on February 1, 2016


Wow, I totally did not see the scroll bar at the bottom - sorry!

thanks for not calling me an idiot
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:56 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Who are all these young people hanging around republican rallys?

While young people go for Democrats overall, that still leaves a LOT of young people who are Republicans (something like a third). And they're just as likely to be interested in politics, as far as I can tell.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:58 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Interesting stuff. I agree that the photography looked very 1980s.

Yes, as in, a very bad class field trip in high school with awful yearbook-worthy pictures to make you cringe a decade from now. It is so very carny...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:58 PM on February 1, 2016


Someone needs to tell Rand Paul that those wayfarer sunglasses just aren't working.
posted by octothorpe at 1:58 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mama told me not to come.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:59 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Nice sweater.
posted by procrastination at 2:01 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Specifically was the "Smoke a cigar with Ted Cruz house party" the worst one?

Worst, or maybe best.

I really like the starkness of the direct flash, and the effect of turning the camera around to see the reality of the shoot without glamorizing it.

Jesus, it seems like ages since Lincoln Chafee and Lawrence Lessig were running. It's a shame they didn't last longer.

And why have I not heard of Vermin Supreme?

Damn, sometimes I miss living in New England.
posted by SteveInMaine at 2:03 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is great work, but for the love of science, I make another impassioned plea to put an end to long horizontal scrolling, unless it's utterly necessary.
posted by chimaera at 2:08 PM on February 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


I declare this the unofficial Iowa Caucus Thread.
posted by Justinian at 2:10 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I declare this the unofficial Iowa Caucus Thread.

There’s also the Erowid Sarah Palin thread.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:13 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ohhh, hm. So many choices.
posted by Justinian at 2:14 PM on February 1, 2016


Those Vermin Supreme shots are actually really really great. Especially the one where he's trudging through the snow. He looks like something out of myth or some fantasy world.
posted by daq at 2:15 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I assume that Vermin Supreme is leading in NH because that is one fetching shoe-hat and those pieces of white bread toast must be a hit with the voters.
posted by vuron at 2:17 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


That close-up of Fiorina is the stuff of nightmares. Scary. As. Fuck.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:18 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I really feel like this one is calling out for Matt to do his thing.
posted by nickmark at 2:20 PM on February 1, 2016


There's a Mrs. Supreme? That's one of the sweetest things I've seen this election.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:21 PM on February 1, 2016 [14 favorites]


May have to try later. We've plated that beansite.
posted by bonehead at 2:24 PM on February 1, 2016


Someone needs to tell Rand Paul that those wayfarer sunglasses just aren't working.

Took me three glances before I was certain this was actually just a cutout. Why would a man who has experience with electoral politics use the most uncharismatic promo photo possible? By comparison, Carson should try to license this, which makes him look cuddly, approachable, and not-at-all wackadoo.

And then, the Daddening.
posted by psoas at 2:27 PM on February 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


Woops, looks like there's an official caucus thread. Carry on.
posted by Justinian at 2:31 PM on February 1, 2016


I thought these got kind of endearing after a while, actually. Sure, a lot of in-person campaigning is just hair and teeth, but there's a lot to be said for spending some time with your electorate, even if after a while the overwhelming presence of your electorate is visibly making you go BLEHHHHgetmebacktotheHolidayInn.

At least, I thought the more disheveled-looking and dorky-looking candidates -- apart from the ones with really painful I've-already-lost body language, like poor Lindsey Graham -- seemed more appealing that the ones who managed to look put-together. That photo of Santorum at the Weare, NH town hall basically defines the term "empty suit."
posted by ostro at 2:36 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe I have simple tastes, but the lectern with arms is my favorite.
posted by Foosnark at 2:36 PM on February 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's interesting to note the differences in audience. I haven't looked through all of them, but themes emerge. Jeb's supporters are frat boys in shorts and orange pants, Rubio's are wealthy upper-middle class white people. Cruz's are middle-class people, and Trump's look like they're hurting. Sanders' are academic and WASPy. Clinton, lots of women and wealthy.

I suppose this is to be expected, really.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:42 PM on February 1, 2016


Jeb!
posted by ckape at 2:42 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Like Donald Trump, these are way over-exposed.
posted by w0mbat at 2:43 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jeb!

“I’ve just got to keep hiding in this windowed closet until he goes away!”
posted by Going To Maine at 2:44 PM on February 1, 2016


I have met Vermin Supreme several times at Rainbow Gatherings. The first time I ever saw him, I was at a quiet campfire in the middle of the night. He was carrying a giant disco ball on a stick, and a hundred or so hippies were shining flashlights on it, and they were all singing a capella disco songs. They sang and danced around for awhile, everyone had coffee and cookies, and then disappeared into the night. His major campaign plank appears to be 'Stong Teeth for a Strong America.' I have to say, he seems like a saner, more reasonable candidate than any of the Republican rabble this year.
posted by talking leaf at 2:49 PM on February 1, 2016 [15 favorites]


This is great work, but for the love of science, I make another impassioned plea to put an end to long horizontal scrolling, unless it's utterly necessary.

It is NEVER necessary.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:54 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Carly supporters seem unhappy.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 2:54 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a Mrs. Supreme? That's one of the sweetest things I've seen this election.

Agreed. And she's wearing Bean boots in a non-ironic way.
posted by SteveInMaine at 2:54 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I saw a gun and thought "wait that's not right", then realized that Matt doesn't filter EVERY picture.
posted by Phredward at 2:55 PM on February 1, 2016


Carly supporters seem unhappy.

Could be either a Compaq or HP customer.
posted by SteveInMaine at 2:57 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ted Cruz/Locutus of Borg
posted by drumcorpse at 3:12 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I saw a gun and thought “wait that's not right”, then realized that Matt doesn't filter EVERY picture.

If you want all of your guns dildoed, you need to apply a “Matte Filter” effect.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:22 PM on February 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Martin Parr-tastic.
posted by verstegan at 3:24 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's all so dirty and everything plastic (which is everything) is fingerprint-smudged and everyone is oily and I want to go home and have a long hot shower.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:29 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure there's a good horror movie to be made of living in a state early on in the primary process.
posted by ckape at 3:42 PM on February 1, 2016


The Union and Democrats Labor Day Breakfast - Manchester, NH photo is nice. Flash is flattering to fruit cups.
posted by yueliang at 4:10 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Horizontal scrolling

I know! I almost didn't post to projects because of how much flak I knew I'd get here for using a design with horizontal scrolling. To my eyes, it makes the pictures work off one another better than a slideshow or vertical scrolling, but I understand everyone's frustration with it. If you really want vertical scrolling, adjust your browser window to one of the responsive breakpoints and the design will allow you to view the site vertically. Tablet and phone should all be vertical scrolling, as well.
posted by msbrauer at 4:15 PM on February 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


The horizontal scrolling doesn't understand that my screen is 4:3 so none of the horizontal-format photos will fit on the screen without getting cropped, so that's not helpful either. Resizing the browser vertically causes all the photos to scale horizontally, so you lose your place.

Thankfully, just asking Firefox to zoom the page eventually triggers the mobile breakpoint and I can see everything okay, though now the vertical format photos are too big and don't fit on the screen...

Lectern with Arms 2016!
posted by BungaDunga at 4:35 PM on February 1, 2016


I am no expert but I have been a paid videographer for longer than Chelsea has been alive. Other than bad lighting and poorly composed snapshots...I really don't see the point. What is the point? To get people doing things in unflattering positions in the worst possible ways? Hell...I am in the wrong line of work. The bad web design didn't help the cause.
posted by shockingbluamp at 4:52 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, where is the George Carlin commentary when you need it!?
posted by Muncle at 4:53 PM on February 1, 2016


Also the incremental loading means I can't let the tab sit and load in the background; it doesn't load photos until I scroll to them, which is a pain in the ass unless you're on real broadband.
posted by BungaDunga at 5:10 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I did manage to figure out the horizontal scrolling, with only a small amount of cursing.

What's losing me is the entire project. Most of these photos look like every public gathering I've ever been to. Aside from the campaign banners, they could have been a public hearing, neighborhood meeting, church service, small high school graduation, the talk before a work party, or, yes, a campaign rally. Have y'all not actually been to any? If you had, none of this would be a surprise.

It's easy to select a photo frame that, taken out of context, will make someone look weird.

I think that some of what is going on here is that media images almost never show ordinary people, unless it's to belittle or make fun. For me, these photos were like looking in a mirror, and seeing what I normally see there. And note: What I normally see there, I NEVER see in the media. I am not grotesque, I am not evil, I am quite ordinary. But I might as well not exist, for all that our mediated culture knows.

When all you see is what the media shows you, it's easy to get a distorted idea of what average people look like, and to be unsettled when you encounter the real thing. The photog has done a service here, in that respect. I just wish it could have been done with a little more empathy. As it is, the comments here put me in mind of a genteel Metafilter version of "People of Walmart."
posted by Weftage at 5:19 PM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Lindsey Graham is saying his own name like "Steve Holt!" only you can tell that he's not really into it.
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:57 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


These are wonderful. Lovely!!!
posted by sallybrown at 7:34 PM on February 1, 2016


I like horizontal scrolling. But then, I am a photographer.

Great work. Really dig it.
posted by wemayfreeze at 8:00 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Used to live in NH. Went through two election seasons there, with 2008 being by far the more dramatic. I really like that he captured what it's really like - a bumbling, odd chaos of small-town halls, restaurants, and coffee shops suddenly turned into complicated 3-ring circus events. The events happen, then they're over and there's nothing left but confetti on the floor and some styrofoam cups. It was pretty fascinating to have access to so many people and be the focus of their energy for a while, though, and I came away from the NH primary process hating it less than I did before I was a resident.

Who are all these young people hanging around republican rallys?

Oh...that's not at all unusual. Young Republicans are everywhere. I mean, campaigns tend to attract (and be run by) really young people, and the candidates on the right are no exception. They all have their own youth support, and you see them everywhere out and about. Every campus has a Young Repubs or Campus Repubs group. One of the most miserable nights out of my life was being in my favorite local when the Ron Paul Pub Crawl came through in '08. A more self-righteous group you can't imagine - but there were a ton of 'em, all under 30.
posted by Miko at 8:17 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love, love, love these photos. I'm getting a little dizzy from the horizontal scrolling (I'm not kidding), but I love the photos anyway.
posted by teponaztli at 9:08 PM on February 1, 2016


The Carly Fiorina closeup deviates from "I'm going to take unflattering photographs" to "I am going to take a mean and ugly photograph."
posted by zippy at 1:51 AM on February 2, 2016


SteveInMaine: And why have I not heard of Vermin Supreme?

Damn, sometimes I miss living in New England.


WRT curiosity about Vermin Supreme, an old friend of mine interviewed him this week for WGBH's "The Scrum" political podcast. The piece is pretty short, and gives a good sampling of his personality: https://soundcloud.com/wgbhnews/a-vermin-supreme

I had heard of him before but never actually heard his views, and so I am grateful for this interview.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:40 AM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why do photographers always have such terrible site designs?

I can answer this! Because photographers have terrible site design. It's one part "everyone else does it; it's the standard" and (probably) one part that's their only experience of photography web sites. After a friend put up their own photography website a decade ago, I mentioned that clicking for the next photo was counter-intuitive, that I expected to see a larger size of the photo. Friend replied that yes, it's terrible, but it was how all the photographers' sites worked.
posted by JawnBigboote at 11:21 AM on February 2, 2016


On reflection, I'd like to temper my comment. I don't mean the photographer or the subject are mean, and wish I'd said "this is the least flattering of all the pictures I saw, and it makes me uncomfortable."
posted by zippy at 11:25 AM on February 2, 2016


And then, the Daddening.
You know these people are conservatives, because their shoes match their belt.
As it is, the comments here put me in mind of a genteel Metafilter version of "People of Walmart."
I felt bad for the teenager with the acne-ridden face... Just seemed a little cruel and pointless. But the unflattering photos of the politicians, maybe they humanize them a little?
posted by 0cm at 12:44 PM on February 2, 2016


I thought these were great, and really conveyed the feeling of standing around in halls, or setting up a set. I like seeing people unposed, and cutting through the candidates gloss. That Carson chap is very photogenic, though.
posted by bystander at 1:51 AM on February 3, 2016


I'd like these a lot more if most all of them were no at least one stop overexposed.

Also, horizontally scrolling galleries are a bad idea.
posted by imjustsaying at 5:28 AM on February 3, 2016


« Older Sarah? Sarah's not here.   |   The 2016 Iowa Caucuses Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments