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You might be asking yourself: What is Misshattan doing at a Hillary Clinton campaign speech?
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer beyond the fact that I am very open-minded despite being very apolitical. Hillary’s campaign team reached out to me and offered to bring me down to North Carolina to capture my perspective during her final stretch of rallying. Up until this point, I had been trying to keep away from this election frenzy because I find that it brings out the worst in people, especially due to the media. Twelve days prior to the election, I found myself packing my bags for a day trip to Wake Forest University in North Carolina to attend my first ever presidential candidate rally.
Not only was excited to attend the rally, but I was honored for the invitation and decided to take advantage of a unique experience. It never occurred to me that attending this event would be considered a public political stance, until I sat down in my chair at the gate of LaGuardia.
I decided to post a Facebook Check-in to let my followers know what I was doing, as I usually do when I am attending anything photography related. Almost immediately, I noticed a string of comments that not only attacked me as an individual for “supporting a criminal”, “long live WikiLeaks”, etc.
I felt a deep sense of sadness that my mere attendance at an event would elicit such a harsh reaction from individuals, especially when I wasn’t necessarily endorsing Hillary through my platform. I decided to ignore the critics and enjoy the rest of my day, despite having to fly back the same night. But before I go on, I need to preface that my attendance at the event does not make me some politically-driven photographer who uses their platform to push their agenda. This is simply my account of a presidential rally, as free from bias as I can humanly achieve.
I met up with my former Coworker at JP Morgan for lunch during the gap between landing and the event. I won’t bore you with all the details of our reunion, but I will tell you that I was at this Diner called Scrambled and their Steak n Eggs was pretty delicious (although my friend’s fried chicken made me regret my order).
After lunch, I made my way to Wake Forest University for the rally. Upon exiting the car, the first thing I noticed a line that wrapped around the stadium that was more impressive than a Yeezy drop. There were thousands of people all waiting in line with their friends and family, and they were all sporting “Stronger Together” posters.
Unfortunately for the attendees waiting in line, my Mark III and I were able to skip the line (sorry). Although that stroke of luck was compromised when the security guard decided to play 21 questions with me and my camera bag.
After a relatively painless process of entering the stadium, I met up with the individual who I had been in contact with, and was shown my seat. There were two lovely ladies who were kind enough to provide me with free iPhone photography lessons. Did you know you can crop? You’re welcome.
The energy in this stadium was very similar to a concert. Which was strange because there was very little music. Although, in between the speakers they were blasting current jams which was a nice touch. I was not expecting the energy to be so wild, positive and loud! The attendees were incredibly diverse and everyone had a friendly demeanor towards one another despite being strangers. The crowd knew when to listen carefully to the speakers, and when to let loose and do the wave. I was also very intrigued at how vast the age range was. There were senior citizens and small children, all coming together for a shared cause that they stand for.
It was an honor to attend this rally and I enjoyed my time at Wake Forest University. I want to take a moment to thank the Hillary Clinton campaign for inviting me down to North Carolina to attend. Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton are phenomenal speakers, and it was inspiring to hear two powerful and influential women speak to such a large crowd about the issues they cared about.
Once it was over, everyone bum rushed for the exit. Luckily, this wasn’t my first rodeo so I made it out before most people. I got to my car and felt my stomach rumbling – all I could think about was that fried chicken from Scrambled (this isn’t an ad, I just love food). It was a little far, so I found this other place that served fried chicken but it didn’t hold a candle to the diner. I guess I have unfinished business in North Carolina.