What a week! As the dust settles from the whirlwind of the DNC Convention, I’ve had a chance to reflect on my participation and witnessing of history. In four days, I was in the presence of more public figures who I admire than I have been my entire life. I last felt this way volunteering four years ago at the Charlotte DNC Convention, but I certainly wasn’t this close. My DNC experience got a major upgrade this year, and between Sunday and Thursday, I had the honor of not only being on the floor, but also of photographing some of the DNC’s biggest players, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, and our first woman presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Before I dig into my experiences on the floor, it’s important to give kudos for what happened in the streets. I will always be loud and proud about my Philly pride, but it’s times like this past week where I feel even more assured of the strength and character of our hometown. Last week the city hosted 50,000 visitors, 15,000 protestors, and conducted zero arrests. The city did a fabulous job of balancing protestors 1st Amendment rights of oppositional voices and keeping police officers safe. Additionally, Philadelphia expanded its reputation as a world class city able to host large events, and that despite being known for its historical value, it is by all measures a contemporary metropolis. Philly Magazine outlined which businesses boomed, affirming overall, the convention was a “Philadelphia success story.”
Inside the convention walls I felt a part of that success story. I rode a rollercoaster of excitement and anxiousness as I captured my fellow Democrats doing something that has never been done before. Monday, hearing FLOTUS deliver her unifying words, as well as Bernie calling his supporters to back our nominee, started the week strong. Thursday, everyone was waiting for Hillary, but Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala’s moment on stage recalling the heroic death of their son in Iraq, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was unexpectedly devastating to Donald Trump and shot adrenaline through the delegates. Then, in the moments leading up to Hillary’s speech, the room was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. When she walked on to that stage, the arena erupted into thundering applause and cheers as everyone felt the thrill of being in the presence of history. One extra perk was being able to give my mother an extra ticket and inviting her to share in the experience. As a life long Democrat, a DNC week volunteer, and a former American history teacher, she loved every minute. I think I earned a lifetime supply of gold star points as a son.
I want to give special thanks to my studio team members who went along for the ride of the DNC Convention and collectively covered 9 events throughout the week. Keep an eye out for another post on all the great and inspiring events we shot!