Riding with Obama – A quiet family meal for 3, watched by dozens

November 3, 2008

Reuters Washington staff photographer Jason Reed is traveling with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Barack Obama through election day November 4. He and his colleague Brian Snyder traveling with the McCain campaign are posting daily photographers blog entries sharing their experiences and favorite pictures of the day from their campaign coverage.

Following an election rally in the small town of Pueblo, Colorado Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama took his family for a meal at Jorge’s Sombrero, a Mexican restaurant in the quaint desert town. Accompanying the Illinois Senator were a gaggle of dozens of traveling press, who managed to squeeze their way between the tables of diners, who I am sure had not expected their own meals to be interrupted by a sudden horde of tv cameras and correspondents charging in among the waitresses.

Obama, who it appears may be getting a little tired of the intense media attention that now follows his every move, this time played nicely for the cameras, following the previous day’s incident where he appeared to run from the press on his way to a Halloween party in his Chicago neighborhood (previous blog entry). As eight traveling photographers managed to shoehorn their way into the four person booth opposite that of the Obama’s, I thought this is appeared to be about as natural a scene as it can get, considering the popularity of the subject matter and the sheer number of press in that room.

That was, until the boom microphone appeared. Long the scourge of still photographers, television boom mics as they are known have the tendency to make a mess of mostly clean backgrounds since they need to be in close physical proximity to the subject making sound, to produce high quality television audio. The appearance of these big fuzzy microphones on the end of a pole are an absolute giveaway that, despite our efforts to exclude them from the background and foreground, what is being photographed is not a random moment, but rather part of a larger media opportunity.

In this rare case I think the presence of the boom mic adds to the image, giving it context in that this is not a fly-on-the-wall snap of Obama having lunch, but a carefully organized media opportunity in which the press is never far away. Before the Senator had even had a chance to order any food, that microphone, along with all the press assembled there, were ushered out by Obama’s press handlers and staff, finally allowing Obama and his family to dine quietly away from the media’s prying eyes and ears in a public place, possibly their last such private seemingly normal relaxed time together before the final two days of intense campaigning before Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election.

One comment

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Jase!

Are you sure you are not a scribbler in disguise?? I am really enjoying your tales from the trail. Only a couple more days to go,but then you must cover the aftermath I suppose….ok, only a few more months to go!!!!!

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