“If your picture [story] isn’t powerful enough, you aren’t close enough,” said photojournalist Robert Capa.
Behind every manufactured scene, there are truthful moments. My job, as a photojournalist covering politics, is to find them. I build a visual narrative within the highly orchestrated landscape created by campaign staffers, but I also work to get access to my subject away from the other cameras, the stage, the crowd. I am looking for the contemplative moment backstage, the concerned whisper between candidate and staff, any moment of serendipity or silliness and stamina. That is how I try to peel away a politician’s facade, frame by frame, day by day.
Successful visual storytelling begins with access. My writing colleagues also want access to the primary players, of course, but they can and do report great stories without it, by interviewing other sources. Without access, I’ve got nothing. Establishing that ability to get close requires time, trust, consistency and relationship-building. In making a pitch to get access, I always explain that I am trying to create a full portrait over time of the candidate and to tell a complete story of a quest full of ambition, determination and exhaustion. I’ve been covering women striving for political power in America’s boys’ club on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue for decades, and I offered that body of work as my word in building a relationship with Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff over the past two years.
I have witnessed women held to higher standards of performance and behavior. Regardless of party, they are required to do their jobs twice as well as male politicians. Their comportment needs to be motherly but not nagging, inspiring but not too emotional. Their physical appearance needs to be perfect. And their skin? Oh, glowing — and as thick as rhino hide (as Eleanor Roosevelt would say).
In the two years I was on the trail documenting Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first female president of the United States, I tried each day to resist falling into the visual malaise of documenting the photo op version of a presidential candidate. I reminded myself to always work to reveal the character of the woman and to scrutinize my shoots for any hint of caricature. My instincts always lead me to explore the reasons, emotions and actions — Hillary Clinton embracing a moment late in the campaign, refusing to leave a Florida rally in the driving rain so she could meet more voters. Talking to her staff, stone-faced and intent, aboard her campaign plane on the day that FBI Director James B. Comey announced that the FBI would reopen its investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server. Throwing her head back and letting out her patented, wall-rumbling laugh while putting on a Halloween mask. Each day, as she negotiated the line of “electability,” struggling to show her humanity without losing her credibility as a candidate, I witnessed Hillary Clinton earning every line on her endlessly expressive face.
Source : Www.Washingtonpost.com