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.

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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.

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Resolute, neat and serious. These heartland Americans meant business.

As the protesters shouted insults, Kat yelled “get a job.”

How did she ever become a Mawrtyr?

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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.

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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 Police?

Film photography forever..