Photographers' Blog

from Raw Japan:

Shaking hands with the prime minister, sort of

On the last day of Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso's campaign for last week's lower house election, I went to cover Aso's speech in Kamakura to get pictures out as early as possible.

aso1

A large crowd of people waited for him to speak, but only a handful of cameraman were at the scene, perhaps reflecting the view that the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was on its way to defeat.

During the election, it was common for politicians to go into crowds of voters to shake hands and as soon as Aso began finishing up his speech, I rushed towards the front row of the crowd with my wide 16mm lens.

Within moments, voters were reaching out their hands and I was practically nose to nose with Aso while angry bodyguards tried to shove me away. I don't give up easily if there is a chance of a good picture, though.

The next thing I knew, Aso himself suddenly grasped my hands and camera and told me: "You shouldn't be shooting here. You've got to obey the rules. Do you understand?"

from Raw Japan:

Elections, obstructions and duct tape

JAPAN-ELECTION/

When you pack scores of journalists into a room and they're all trying to listen to, photograph, and film one person - like the head of a political party - it’s easy to get blocked by the people and things in front of you.

For a photographer, this is the kiss of death. It means not getting a picture. Next, your phone rings with an angry editor on the other end - a brief conversation is followed by a lengthy period of woe and despair. For this and other reasons, photographers go to great lengths to get a good photo position.

For Sunday’s Democratic Party of Japan election event, the first photographers arrived at 2 a.m. for an event that wasn’t expected to start until almost 8 p.m. - 16 hours later. Well before any big event photographers make a land grab vying for the best possible real-estate.