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Jan 07, 2008

Our Man In New Hampshire #4: BarackOMania

This is the fourth in a 72-hour series of campaign dispatches from photojournalist and BNN Contributer Alan Chin.  These shots were taken on Sunday at Concord High School.

(Click any image to expand)

In essence, it only takes two pictures right now to tell the New Hampshire Obama story.


Alanchin-Obama-3  Alanchin-Obama-4  Chin-Obama-7
For young people, the campaign seems to be generating an untold number of future "I remember when" moments.  As Chin writes:  "Thousands of intense young college students, and many coeds, it seems, flock to Obama's rally and cheer with a passionate intensity wholly lacking anywhere else."

Surely, the orientation is coincidental, but as everything else seems to be lining up, so too does the "Sportsmanship Award."

It seems the tone in the country is almost too jaded and polarized to believe in the kind of passion and inspiration being generated right now by this politician.

Next Up: John Edwards, then Hillary, I believe.  (...Have to see what comes through in the morning's email)

(All images courtesy Alan Chin.  Concord, New Hampshire.  January 5, 2007  Used by permission)


The last image is telling - I read somewhere that Barack Obamas Secret Service detail has been substantially increased in recent days, as his campign gathers momentum.

Check the suited guys with lapel pins, looking everywhere else, except towards The Candidate. I count four of 'em, with a fifth cut off by the frame.

I like these pictures. They give me the feeling I am there. Long ago I went to lots of such political events. Lots of emptiness and boredom.

A question for Alan Chin: do you always take/publish black-and-white photos or did you choose to do so especially for this series? The absence of color is surprising.

great photos, and I love the effect of the b/w, which makes you look at the numbers rather than at the wash of color and chaos.

thought this line odd, however:
"Thousands of intense young college students, and many coeds, it seems, flock to Obama's rally and cheer with a passionate intensity wholly lacking anywhere else."

-- who are these "coeds" that aren't already included in the phrase "college students"??

The black and white also creates a timelessness to the photos, obviously. But you can imagine them in a school textbook, near JFK or FDR pics, but then again, as the empty cup in which to pour all our hopes and dreams, it's not hard to play "what if" with Obama. What if he's really that great? What if he deserves a place among them, with imagination filling in the colors and blank spaces in our minds, just like we tend to fill in our hopes when we're unsure of his politics. I mean, I think he believes what I believe -- but I'm not sure. And having seen him in person several times now, I still am unsure of positions of which I fully know Edwards and Clinton's take.

I would have thought a while ago that such ambiguity would make me turn to Edwards or Clinton more... and yet, these pictures really capture something other than the Obama or the crowds -- the desire to make Obama into something really special, really important. In fact, it feels important that Obama be something important. Like some real inspiration could salve some of the nations' palpable wounds.

That was really what Reagan, for all his flaws, brought to the table. An answer to those who were really hurt during the post-war, post-Nixon period when America was at one of its ugliest moments. Reagan seemed removed from that, even as he said and did ridiculous -- and likely criminal -- things as President.

A friend just returned from Spain, where he said the coverage of Obama brought people to him with questions. They wanted to know if it was real, whether the guy had a chance, or whether Huckabee would continue the charactature of American leadership they've been chuckling at/fearing for the last 8.

So, to conclude, the photos are inspiring, and make me all the more nervous because of it. A picture is worth a thousand words, but if the last decade has tought us anything, its ultimately the words that matter.

The feeling invoked by the first 2 photos was very real. I was there on Sunday, and amazed at the crowds of fellow supporters. He's trying to create a movement....very intentionally.

Why no Edwards coverage. Heck, i would love to see Kucinich, but can understand him not being here. Why is it there is no Edwards coverage?


That last picture reminds me very much of images from RFK's campaign, e.g.
Is that your intention? Under the circs, I find the layer of Very Serious Dudes re-assuring.

However, as acm said, who are these "coeds" who aren't also "intense young college students"? Are you trying -- clumsily IMHO -- to say that "there seem to be a lot of women at his events"? Because your pictures do *not* show crowds that are more than maybe one-third female. Or is that the usual?

writing from the lounge of a hotel in manchester, checking my email and having a break before the mayhem tonight once the polls close.

that was a mis-speaking or writing on my part, i wrote my remarks at 5 am the other night in response to Michael's request that I provide some quick context to each set of images. I meant to say something like "college students" or "young men and women" and somehow that came out as both "young college students" and "coeds," my tired brain not copy editing myself. No offense meant or intended. As I mean it, yes, Obama's rallies do seem to attract a more youthful crowd, male and female, than the other candidates -- McCain perhaps at the other end of the age spectrum with the most senior citizens -- not surprising in that case.

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