Late last week, local politician Kaniela Ing announced political wunderkind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be in Honolulu to stump for Ing’s campaign for Congress.
I approached Reuters News and asked to cover the event which they approved. With the popularity of the social democrat in the media currently, I wanted to capture a portrait of AOC before the rally.
I reached out to her campaign people and arranged to two minute photo shoot. I knew I’d have to work quick and fast and wouldn’t have anyone really helping me.
For the lighting, I opted for a Profoto ring light powered by a Profoto 7B2 and would place her against a silk background stretched over my homemade 6×6 frame. I don’t usually use a ring light because it can be a one trick pony but I figured I would have a tough time moving a light bank and stand around by myself. So I stuffed my Canon 1Dx Mark II with my ever present 28-70mm 2.8 lens into the case with the pack and ring light prepared to move quickly.
The event was held inside a school cafeteria at a school near Waikiki. I arrived early and looked for a place to set up. Ing’s people were scrambling to set up the event and didn’t have much time for me. At the last minute, I was told the meet and greet would be in a classroom upstairs from the cafeteria. I grabbed my gear and rushed up to build my set.
As I ran up the stairs I ran straight into AOC. She had just arrived and was looking for a bathroom. I told her it was downstairs and she smiled politely and I went on to meet her crew and set up the studio.
When AOC returned from the bathroom, her hair was wet like she had run water through her locks. I felt she wasn’t photo ready but her appearance was youthful and it all seem to fit. She didn’t carry herself like a rising political star and it wouldn’t be tough to imagine her running across campus to her next class.
We chit-chatted for a few minutes before I posed her in front of my background which was being held up by two of her aides. I awkwardly told her that standing straight at me comes across like a mug shot so I pointed her feet and shoulders at an angle and I shot about 8 frames of her and that was that.
Afterwards, I covered the rally and got the usual pictures of politicians raging against the machine.
I almost gave up as I lost time and patience trying to get the portrait set up. But I persevered was glad I captured something different of the rising political star.