“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”
Political theatre is ‘[a] term that comments on political issues, political action or protest that has a theatrical quality to it, and any action by politicians that is intended to make a point rather than accomplish something substantive,’ according to Wikipedia.
Over the past two years, I have been photographing the presidential candidates as they lead rallies, meet with voters and plead for their votes. I started just before the government shutdown in 2013 at a Tea Party rally at the U.S. Capitol. Politicians railed against the president and the Affordable Care Act — a show to get a sound bite into the next news cycle.
Since then, I have followed the political spin as it tilts its way to November. Donald Trump’s entrance into the race, taking control of TV talking heads, making the media his press agent, is true political theatre.
After a Trump rally in Lowell, Massachusetts, a father said to his sons, “Now that was entertaining.” His sons agreed, chiming in with their favorite lines from Trump’s speech. In New Hampshire, after Bernie Sanders gave a speech, he walked down the stage stairs and when he saw photographers there, he stopped and raised an arm in a power salute.
I want to pull back the curtain and show these politicians as they really are. Even though they are in plain sight, they can hide behind words and carefully arranged imagery to project their vision of America. I am using my camera to cut through the staging of these moments and reveal the cold, naked ambition for power.