Wednesday, August 29

Bernie Came To Town - 5 (End)

Here's Vermont's Democrat-Socialist Senator and 2016 Democrat Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders. He's speaking before Jess King's logo in her race as Lancaster County's Democrat candidate for Congress in November 2018. 

Pity that Senator Sanders won't come out of his shell :-)

He spoke flames to this crowd who began hot for Congressional candidate Jess King. There is nothing more American than a summer stump speech from an explosive orator who's scattered facts onto a bed of bubbling emotions. The base is entertained, informed, and cranked to a pitch to, well... pitch for anyone this guy likes. Sanders is a missionary for his ideology.

While a partisan wants to grab power for a party, an ideologue seeks to focus power narrowly toward a cause. Trump and Sanders are both ideologues and each has a base of believers. Ideologies are similar to religious doctrines. At some point unanswerable questions are satisfied by belief. I was once a progressive liberal, now - not so much.  But recollections are tickle-able.

This group's triangular shape reminded me of the famous Marine rising of the
American Flag  over  Iwo Jima toward the end of WWII. 

Yeah, the crowd tickled my golden memories of solidarity, hope, and faith. I could feel the shoulders, smiles, and heat of unknown friends crowding against me from rallies past. Here's a community of people bound by wants, needs, and desires. Do they all agree? Mostly - well maybe not the unknown sign holder up above. And who knows - if the devil is in the details - there probably are a bunch of micro disagreements among these folk. But they were making memories aligned with mine. 

There was logic here, and facts... but overall there was feeling. Maybe. by the time you're visiting this cluster of five posts, you'll know Jess King's and perhaps even Senator Sanders' futures after the November 2018 elections. Maybe you'll care. One thing's certain - this lady above, and her sister-in-Sanders/King below - will... care deeply.

Welcome to small-town-grassroots America.

POSTSCRIPT: Since I posted this series an election was held and the candidate that Bernie came to support in Lancaster - Jess King: A Democrat for Congress -was crushed by over 50,000 votes by Amish-born Congressman Lloyd Smucker in November of 2018. 

Tuesday, August 28

Bernie Came To Town - 4

So? Is Bernie Sanders controversial or mainstream? Izzit possible to be both? Who decides whether something is "controversial". To some President Trump is controversial, other find Mrs. Clinton leads their list of controversial folks. By the way, is there something wrong with being "controversial"? Is that a negative label? Miriam Webster defines controversy as, "a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views." And "controversial" the dictionary define as, " Of, relating to, or arousing controversy." Are these bad or even dangerous things? 

I'm going to guess about this happy mother and child that, even if she finds Senator Sanders, controversial, that she neither finds him bad, nor dangerous. Mothers rarely expose their babies to hazards. In fact, to the degree that she finds the Senator's views to be in opposition to others, they don't seem in opposition to hers. Hence - there's no controversy here. Yet, someone has defined this Senator, the present President, and the views of so many others to be controversial. Who are the labelers? 

A supporter of AFSME vigorously supports Democrat Congressional candidate Jess King.

Yessss... there are people strongly invested in Senator Sanders and Jess King's views. And frequently they represent groups to which they belong. For example the enthusiastic lady above wears a tea shirt sporting the emblem of the American Federation of State and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union which feels changes in legislation or the courts might be difficult to deal with. 

Nobody likes change. Many hopefully endorse it, yet find its disciplines uncomfortable. Hope's a fragile business plan. Now I'm not writing about trends here... Trends are like the ocean's currents that move things along in a kind of predictable way leaving lots of time for, well, assimilation to a trend's dynamics. It's when people notice changes in trends that they go like, "Huh"?

Where's Waldo? Is Democracy lost like Waldo, or has it found it's
setting among the large  audience in  Musser Park, PA?
Then they wonder where their world's going... or went. Irving Kristol, wrote "The leverage of ideas is so immense that a slight change in the intellectual climate can ... twist a familiar institution into an unrecognizable shape." Which is when people wonder, "Where's Waldo?" What's happened? 

A random grab shot of about a dozen of the thousands of faces listening to
Senator Bernie Sanders speak  in  Musser Park, Lancaster, PA. 

Political rallies can be about groups or individuals... Forests or trees. It's the trees that I like. The emotional waves that beam from faces: each telling a separate story. Here's an exercise, click on the image above then plumb each expression and let it plop you onto a story arc. I  learn the most about forests when I pay attention to the trees. 

Niccoló Machiavelli, the father of modern political science, taught his Prince, "Whoever wishes to change the government of a city to his whims and wants it to be accepted and to maintain it to everyone's satisfaction, will have to retain at least the shadow of the ancient ways, so that to the people nothing will seem to have changed although in fact the new laws are in all respects completely alien to those of the past." 

When  "reform" changes things - politicians aren't above faking a tradition when necessary. The appeal to tradition is useful both to sustain a social experiment or to destroy it. Think of the phrase so many politicians are quick to tell us when they oppose opponents of the impact of their experiments, "That's not what America is about.

Waldo is about the forrest, faces tell the story of the trees. 

Sunday, August 26

Bernie Came To Town - 3

Once I read a guy who wrote, "We regard politicians as self-interested opportunists and nothing else."

At 7am noises began for the 10am event. Sanders fans began swirling onto Musser Park's quadrangle.  The media likes contention. But most political gatherings in the U.S. are filled with happy, enthusiastic people which dials down chances for unpleasant, click-bait, stuff. So the average rally doesn't get much coverage. See this fella below? He came to hear Bernie Sanders, but happily waggled a Jess King lawn sign at me. That's the deal, Sanders is the headliner and opening act, the local Democrat candidate follows up as the main event. Point is that the campaign trail for every candidate is lined with believers and audiences who love a parade. Regardless, the price is right and most folks are in a great mood.

Speaking of signs.

Along the edge of the crowd, a critic of the Senator and the local Congressional candidate hefted his argument into the sun. It seemed to me that the lady was in kindly debate mode. Cynics say we have lost belief in politics as a source of betterment in our lives. Believers who pack into Sanders or Trump rallies haven't lost faith in politicians' interests in their dreams. 

Thursday, August 23

Bernie Came To Town - 2

And the beat goes on.

Street portraiture's a bit like fishing. I cast my lens into a pool hoping to catch a prize... Something worthwhile. There are two kinds of artistic images. The first is a question, the second an answer. Oh, ok... maybe there's a third - the image which both asks then answers. Frankly, answering questions is above my pay grade. Personally I feel that asking questions is what the best art does. Answering can too often become a polemic.

So I look for questions that each visitor to my work answers alone.

The first in this series set the tone for the questions that occurred to me on May 5th. Here's another, more will come and perhaps the entire set may contain an answer. Synergy happens when the whole becomes greater than its parts. When each sentence is a question, perhaps the impact of the essay is what Sextus Impericus invented maybe 2,200 years ago? You know, a set of questions which while each is seemingly unrelated the whole allows inductive insight?

Truth is revealed from the bottom up. Now don't get me started on "truth" - OK?

What can we conclude from this man and young woman? He wears a wedding ring. They each carry signs... His read, "America Is For All Of Us", and her's "Jess King For Congress". Each of the signs were given to early arrivers, but no one had to take them. Bernie spoke as I grabbed this image. They were rapt, nodding to his points. Can we tell more? He wears a fashionable stubble. Her ears don't appear pierced. I'm imaging that this is a father/daughter pair, their jaw and cheekbone lines suggest a familial relationship. Can you find more clues? Their expressions are serious, attentive. Awaiting Senator Sanders, they'd stood and squinted into the sizzling Spring sun for hours. 

GEEK STUFF: Same equipment as the first in this series. However the afternoon's sunny contrast pulled me to use Alien Skin's Exposure 4's powerful emulation of Kodak Ectachrome EES to take advantage of its saturated palette and low contrast. It's was a workhorse film with a tiny grain structure and reasonably wide tonal range at low ISO (ASA) settings. Plus my 300mm lens permitted a sufficiently narrow depth of field to pluck my subjects from the large crowd surrounding them.

Tuesday, August 21

Bernie Came To Town - 1

Democrat Congressional Candidate Jess King addresses a large
crowd in Lancaster's Musser Park on May 6, 2018
Last Saturday May 5th, Senator Bernie Sanders, a previous Democrat Socialist candidate for President of the U.S., arrived in Lancaster to endorse a local Democrat candidate, Jess King, for Congress. Some 2,800+ Sanders' followers joined him in Musser Park which is about 500' from my home. With press credentials hanging about my neck I did street photography of the crowd. It was a warm sunny Spring afternoon with the audience in a happy mood. Here's the first of those portraits.

Geek Stuff: Agfachrome slide film presented my favorite color palette. Thanks to Alien Skin's Exposure X3, I can approximate both that palette and its grain structure. Of course my Canon EFS 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens was easily hand held on a Canon 7D MrkII producing needle sharp images. I guess I was, on average, about 50' from subjects - but I made no effort to hide: The park crawled with press photographers. 

Incidentally: I estimated the crowd's size at 2,800 by breaking the lead pano in this post above into 21 quadrants and meticulously counting the people in each. I then similarly analyzed two other panos I shot from different angles - angles which revealed the additional numbers to the left and right of the pano atop this posting. 

BTW, Lancaster has about 55,000 residents and Lancaster County (where few homes are more than 45 minutes from Musser Park).