This is not a political blog, saints be praised. I talk about Group A, Channel 1, and stuff like that, not the results of the latest polls. But the life of a photographer is punctuated with encounters, large and small. And you make pictures of these encounters! That’s the job.
Trump for Newsweek, Biden for People. Different magazines, different approaches. Trump was a week long encounter, Biden just a day or so. Trump was in color, with lights and an assistant. Biden was by myself, no flash, working with window light. I’m a generalist, doing what the job requires, so I was comfortable with both approaches. The current, roiled political waters caused me to do a bit of an archive rummage, which was, well, interesting.
I think perhaps the stories, and the way I had to approach them, might have mirrored the men. Trump was in color, all glitz, powerhouse ego, and I did my requisite lighting and staging. Biden I met at the train station in Wilmington, and we shared a Metroliner to his Senate office. Shot B&W, available light, all day. Tiny bit of color by the windows in his office. The Trump days were often set up and wait. With Biden, it was shoot and move, shoot and move, all day, camera bag over my shoulder.
Trump gadded about in what he claimed at the time was the only non-military Puma helicopter in service in the world. Biden had, well, the Metroliner. And some big windows, thankfully.
They have widely disparate political beliefs, but both, on those days, shared a penchant for red ties.
Trump was “The Donald” to Ivana, at that time. I never met Mrs. Biden.
Shot the cover below in about three minutes, with one 3×4 softbox, in his conference room. Biden went to meetings on the hill. I sat on the floor and covered his expressions.
Trump is the big news of this year’s race so far, which everyone who turns on a TV knows. Biden is deciding about participation in what would be a long, hard political season. Two different people, two very different coverages, done in very different ways. The job of a photographer. You adapt. You keep your views and opinions to yourself and you cover the job. On those days, you simply observe the world you are assigned to, and you make pictures. And those pictures stick with you, amazingly. These jobs were shot in the 80’s! And, here, now, I have cause to look at them again, in 2015.
What a wonderful, intriguing and forever relevant thing we do, us photog types. Make pictures of our life and times, and the people who populate them.