I attended the final Colorado campaign stop that Barack Obama made on 01 Nov 2008, a few days prior to the election. A few thousand people attended this rally in Pueblo, CO, to hear Senator Obama speak.
I actually cried taking this photograph.
I've been to thousands of political rallies. I've been a delegate, a campaign worker, a political activist. I've shaken hands with lots of players in this game. Politics doesn't usually get to me anymore. I have laughed, screamed, spoken out, marched, or swore... but never cried until that day in Pueblo. When Michelle Obama finished her pep talk and introduced her husband, I looked through my camera's viewfinder and cried.
This photograph is special because it captures a personal moment between husband and wife, in front of a great public, and conveys an emotion we don't normally see.
I cried over the personal sacrifice of this couple in making this run for the highest office of our nation. But I also cried because their hope and courage revived in me what led me into politics all those years, rallies, and campaigns ago: belief in the audacity of hope to change our circumstances. I actually believe in this man and in his campaign, in his drive to bring a populist movement to life.
This photo, and others I took that day at the rally, received an incredible response when I posted them to my Flickr account. Another photo in this series received over 10,000 views within a week of it being posted, with encouragement and support for Obama from people worldwide. What is historical about this series of photos is that an average citizen can cover an event and post it to the internet, reaching far flung people and encouraging a new sort of equality. My photos share an equal footing and equal exposure with large media outlets thanks to the internet. But there is also a personal component to that equality; my friends and acquaintances are better able to "feel like they were there" by virtue of knowing me. That in itself is historical, whether or not this particular photograph ever attains historical notoriety.
But I do believe this photo has historical merit because it shows a personal yet public moment from the last days of a long and arduous campaign. It exhibits love, which may seem an odd thing to convey in a political campaign, but actually may be the driving force behind why any politician, activist, or photographer does what they do.
Taken at the Barack Obama rally in Pueblo, CO.