The Moose takes Pennsylvania
Though the McCain-Palin ticket lost, black and white film
photography is the real winner in this election.
On September 22, 2008 my workfriend Kat and I went to the
McCain-Palin rally in Media, Pennsylvania. I took my Leica
M-2, built in 1960, and lots of Ilford HP5 black and white
film---hand rolled, of course.
Kat had been the only Republican in her class at Bryn Mawr
College. She had recently returned from Africa, where she
worked as science advisor to the Tanzanian parliament and
climbed Mount Kilimanjaro on the winter solstice. She
wanted to see Sarah Palin.
I was hoping to photograph the protesters, expecting
scruffy refugees from the 1960’s. However, when I developed
my film in D-76 and printed the pictures on Ilford Cooltone
RC Multigrade paper with Dektol, the Republicans proved to
be the stars of my shoot.
Resolute, neat and serious. These heartland Americans meant
As the protesters shouted insults, Kat yelled “get a job.”
How did she ever become a Mawrtyr?
As the rally began, I spotted Kat texting her friends with
play-by play descriptions of the rally. Then I saw her
holding her cel high. She had called her brother in Iowa,
so he could listen to Sarah.
Meanwhile, a strange man got in my face and asked whether
my camera was a M-3 or M-2. I told him M-2 and tried to get
away. Minutes later, as I was loading my Leica the strange
man was photographing me.
When Palin finished speaking, Kat said, “Let’s get out of
here.” She had come for Sarah, and so did the crowd. As
McCain spoke people headed for the bus stops.
As we sat on the bus, the strange man walked by. He was
stalking me. Was he Secret Service, DNC or the Digital
Film photography forever..