February 16, 2016
From a New Hampshire Primary Photography Workshop
Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) waits to begin speaking at a New Hampshire school ahead of the state’s primary.
This is the second of two posts based on a pair of campaign workshops held by documentary photographer, Jeff Jacobson. As I wrote in the previous post (From an Iowa Caucus Photography Workshop), images that are produced at workshops are not often made at public events and otherwise rarely seen. As a space dedicated to the photographer’s process, our Originals section seemed like an appropriate venue for looking at this work.
As I also mentioned last week, Jeff has been been shooting on the campaign trail for decades. As a photographer who we depend on for his alternate views of public spectacle, I thought it’d be interesting to see how he led his students to observe the scene. From concern surrounding Jeb to portrait of voters and campaign workers, this is a sampling of their work from the New Hampshire primary. By the way, while some students chose to provide more standard captions, we also encouraged them to use those lines to reflect on the scene or their decision-making process.
— Meg Handler
New Hampshire is a tiny state, smaller than a lot of American cities, but is home to the first primary in the country. The economy could be doing much worse, but the state has a heroin epidemic that is killing hundreds of people a year. We covered a lot of ground—in Manchester, once home to the world’s largest cotton mill, we went to a Cruz event at a VFW hall, complete with video slot machines; a Christie rally at a Greek Orthodox church; and a Bernie happening set to Simon & Garfunkel at a vaudeville-era theater. The billionaire and the socialist, each with his own populist appeal, roared to victories, and it was hard to grasp how one place could be split in such a stark way.
I’d been to Iowa to photograph the caucus, so by the time I got to New Hampshire, I was less fazed by all the hullabaloo. I focused on something Jeff talks about — “where do you stand.” That applies to many aspects of the process, but physically, it means for me trying to get close to my subjects, and emotionally, pressing the shutter only when I really feel there is something in the moment. Garry Winogrand said there is “nothing more mysterious than a fact clearly stated.” -Wendy Blake
Ben Carson meet and greet at his campaign headquarters in Manchester. The room was small and crowded with Carson’s religious supporters. The young man with the sign just seemed lost.
Jeb Bush Town Hall at a middle school in Salem. Here, the main room was large and it seemed the best pictures would be on the fringes. These men were in the back of an adjoining area. Their body language seems to capture concern for Bush’s prospects.
I saw this guy at the Rubio post-primary “party” at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, N.H. He was clearly not camera-shy. Proudly displaying his colors, he could have been in the stands at a football game, and was a perfect fit for the TV commentator giving a play-by-play of the election results as if he were announcing a sports match. I wanted his entire face to fill the frame so asked him if I could get “uncomfortably close.” He said yes.
A mother was dragging her daughter through a packed crowd to press the flesh after Rubio addressed attendees at a big Super Bowl rally in Manchester. The mother was possessed by a fervor while the daughter wasn’t sure she wanted to be there. At one point, a staffer had to ask everyone to back up because some small children were at risk of being crushed. I’m fascinated by the kids at these events. While some very well may have political beliefs of their own and seem excited to participate, I have to wonder how much they understand. And many appear to be propelled into the fray without having a say in the matter.
On the day of the N.H. primary, a protester stands outside the Radisson hotel in Manchester, N.H. Inside the Radisson is the media center and the hotel is the venue for Republican Presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio’s (Fla.) primary watch party later that night.
Voters line up for Gov. Chris Christie’s (R-N.J.) event on the eve of the N.H. primary.