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All Eyes - Reporting with a camera

Donald Trump in Tampa: As seen through the lens of Loren Elliott



Political coverage is a challenge different from most other areas of photojournalism. Because media is a constant presence and image is so important to the candidates, photographers are carefully herded to take the pictures that campaigns want to have out there. Along those lines, candidates are closely guarded from photographers the rest of the time.

In the case of Donald Trump, photographers were cordoned off in an area where risers allowed for a clear but distant view of Trump speaking. There were approximately 15-20 photographers and videographers positioned on the risers. I always want to make a picture different from what the other photographers at an event are shooting. This meant spending enough time on the risers to know I had some decent pictures, and then getting away from the pack as quickly as possible.

Myself and two or three other photographers connected with Trump's campaign people, who escorted us first to the buffer zone at Trump's feet, then to the second level behind him, and then back to the buffer zone for autographs. Getting in with this small group of shooters, away from the crowd, was critical to making interesting images. There were few enough of us that we could spread out and do our own thing. And we were put into places where we could let our creative processes unfold, and not be limited to a straight-on shot of a podium with a 300mm lens.

We were rushed, told we had to keep moving, and made to leave sooner than we would have liked. There's no disobeying, as secret service agents are at the ready and a photographer could get kicked out of the event with one boundary crossing. There's no sense in pushing it too far, as even the greatest photo means nothing to your newspaper if you can't get back to your computer by the risers to file it by deadline. But in the end, I got to make a gallery of images that have visual variety and let me put a little creativity to work. I don't think all my pictures are the expected ones. That's all I need to leave an assignment feeling accomplished.

Loren Elliott
Staff Photographer
Tampa Bay Times
[email protected]



[Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2016 10:37am]


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