In the final month of Framingham’s first mayoral campaign, I followed then-candidate Yvonne Spicer as the de facto campaign photographer. The campaign needed marketing collateral for that last push to the November 7 election and I was asked (or rather, I asked) to take photographs. If you’ve received an Yvonne Spicer for Mayor campaign mailer, or visited the website, or looked at her campaign Facebook page, the chances are you’ve seen a photograph taken by me.
I’ve put together a few of my favorite images from those four weeks.
November 7 — Election Day
During those four weeks, I’d been gathering pictures solely for campaign material. Sure, I’d taken the occasional picture for posterity (like the one above), but when I was asked to stay at HQ to continue photographing through the evening, it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be taking photographs for the campaign, but rather, photographs about the campaign. For the Town (soon to be City) of Framingham, these photographs could be of historical significance and so naturally I started to sweat and freak out. It felt like a ton of responsibility. I checked the settings on my camera at least ten times. Do I have enough battery? — change it over just to make sure — check. Do I have both memory cards in the camera just in case one fails — check. Is the lens clean? Clean the lens — check. What about f-stop? It was dark in that conference room, but I knew things would be fast moving, so… Okay, high f/stop*, crank up the ISO — but what about the quality? — screw the quality, we need pictures. “F/8 and be there.”
*I chose an aperture of f/8. Why? Read F/8 and be there.
Have you ever wanted to know how campaigns get the election results so quickly? It’s because they’re organized — that’s how. Before the voting ends, each campaign sends volunteers to every precinct. Once the polls close, an election worker produces a tally sheet from that precinct. The campaign volunteer takes a photo of that tally sheet and texts it to the campaign HQ where all the results are tallied. It’s a simple as that. On election night, from polls closing to knowing the unofficial result, took less than 25 minutes. The first results came in at around 8:08pm.
After just three precincts reporting, the numbers looked good for Yvonne and the team remained optimistic, continuing the same trend as the preliminary elections.
At 8:18pm on November 7, John Stefanini made the concession call to Yvonne marking the end of the campaign.
- I took approximately 1,400 shots — many of which still have to be sorted through.
- I arrived at the Framingham Beer Works at around 9:20pm and I checked the images on my camera. For the first time in my life, a data card failed. My camera holds two cards and I’d set to use one as a back-up, so I didn’t lose anything…but holy mother of God. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. Always, always, always, and if you can, make back-ups with a second card on the camera.
- The aperture of f/8 in the conference room worked but the quality of the images suffered — At ISO 10,000, it is what it is, they were noisy. It’s all a trade off. I performed some smoothing and noise reduction in post-process.
- The nine or so minutes after John Stefanini’s concession call was an intensely intimate moment for Yvonne, her family, her friends, and the campaign team. It was a challenge to document it whilst doing my best not to intrude and/or infringe — and I sincerely hope I didn’t do too badly.
- And finally, it’s hard to keep a shot in focus with teary eyes.