Sunday, November 11, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Just some speaker shot assignment.

If you didn't hear about it yet, Bill Clinton delivered a speech in the Union Ballroom yesterday in support of Hillary's campaign. Excluding the part about how I arrived 3 hours early only for the event to be delayed another hour and a half, it was a very exciting assignment.

The press were limited to a small box behind all of the seating in the ballroom, which allowed for only straight-on speaker shots. Just as Clinton entered, security allowed photographers near the front. It didn't really work out so well. As Clinton walked to the podium and greeted the audience, the lighting was horrible and most of my photos came out blurry. By the time he had reached the podium, lighting was a little bit better but the moment was gone.

At least it gave all of us an angle other than straight on from the press box.

4:30. The speech begins. Every hand gesture Clinton makes brings about surges of clicking noises from the press box. Clinton gives a variety of different hand motions throughout the speech. I will now describe them in no particular order:

1. The Wave.

The Wave is the most common of Clinton's hand gestures and can add emphasis to just about anything. It is mostly used to give life to parts of the speech that draw the least amount of cheers from the audience. The gesture has no particular meaning, unless Clinton is giving his rare "Mime in a Box" performance. The Wave can also be done with the right hand, as seen here:

2. The Claw.

The Claw is used to build up to the more important parts of the speech, as a transition from The Wave.

3. Beached Squid.

Don't confuse The Claw with Beached Squid. They are two very different hand gestures, yet some choose to deny Beached Squid's existence. Its meaning is currenty unknown.

4. The Pointer.

The Pointer is used when speech focuses on a republican. It is used to help explain why said republican is wrong on a certain issue. The Pointer adjusts on three levels according to how wrong a republican has been about something. The above picture is an example of a Level 2, or "Rudy Giuliani" pointer. Below is an example of the Level 1: "Ron Paul" pointer:

The Level 3 pointer has no name, but is typically reserved for members of the Bush Administration.

This is a particularly severe Level 3. It could almost be classified as a Level 4, which has never been seen before by the likes of man.

5. Hadoken.

If too many pointers occur within a speech, Bill might reach "pointer overload." This is not good. This can lead to the Hadoken, which is the most deadly of hand gestures. During the Hadoken, Bill charges a ball of energy between his hands. The energy is then shot out into the audience, usually killing two or three and wounding several more. I could not take a picture of the Hadoken in action as it would have destroyed my camera. Luckily, I had recently picked up a Bubble Shield, which I deployed to protect myself from a potential Hadoken as other audience members fled in panic.

6. Cooldown.

Exactly how it sounds. Follows a Hadoken.

7. The ultra-rare "A-OK."

The A-OK is Clinton's rarest hand gesture. It was only given once during the entire speech, so it is a particular treat for photographers. If you look closely, you will see that the A-OK casts a shadow on Clinton's face. Rumor has it that if the circle created by his thumb and index finger fall perfectly over his eye, everything that humans know may cease to exist. This was certainly a close call, but we are all safe for now.


When the speech ended, crowds rushed in to shake hands with the Clinton. If you look closely, you might see that Ralph Becker is almost as excited as I am to take photos of Bill Clinton.

The security somehow expected all photographers to remain within the press box. Danny La from the Tribune, Michael Brandy from the Deseret News and I were all forced to operate like ninjas through the crowd. Security repeatedly hunted us down and told us to move back, or even tugged on our shoulders. But despite all of the shoulder-tugging, I held strong and managed to get some good handshake photos.

I wonder if he gets tired from shaking so many hands. Also, five bucks says the first thing he does after a speech is wash his hands. I know I would. I don't want 1200 people's germs on my hands.

This was my favorite of the bunch. I like the layers it contains and how its wideness shows the Union Ballroom and establishes a sense of place. I like the distortion of the handshake in the bottom left corner. I DON'T LIKE THE KID TAKING A PICTURE OF HIMSELF WITH A BIG RED CIRCLE ON HIS FOREHEAD. Stupid cameras.