Project Blog

Go West Young Man!

Sep 02, 2008

The day before we left Denver I found an event listing for a Labor Day parade in Park City Utah, featuring a 12-foot tall Obama puppet. Knowing we wouldn’t make it in time for the parade, I called the local Obama headquarters to see if we could track down the local artist who had made the puppet, and maybe set up a photo shoot in the area.

Nikki, the field organizer I spoke to there, was super helpful, inviting us to bring our set to the Salt Lake City office, and putting me in touch with the Obama puppeteer. Nikki also gave me the number of Liana, a volunteer she thought might have a guest room for us. When I spoke to Liana, she told me that she’d be happy to have us, and we could show up as late as we needed to, she’d stay up and watch the news until we got there.

People in Utah are so nice! And driving through Park City and into Salt Lake, it is easy to understand why John Smith and his followers thought this was the Promised Land. I had no idea Utah is so gorgeous!

Our shoot that evening went really well. Although there were only a half a dozen volunteers at the office doing data entry, every single one of them gave us a great portrait. We had to send a couple of them home with their model releases, to have the contracts signed and sent back to us by their parents, because these two girls are still in high school! They told us that especially because they aren’t able to vote in this election, it’s that much more important that they do their part by helping at the office.

After packing up our gear, we headed back up the mountain to Liana’s house in Park City. By the time we arrived it was quite dark, but I had a feeling we would be waking up in a beautiful spot. And although Liana had warned us that she has a large dog, the enormous Leonberger, “Schutz,” who greeted us at the door, could better be described as a small pony. Despite the late hour, Liana insisted on uncorking a bottle of wine, and the three of us stayed up until 1am, watching CNN and swapping stories (Schutz keeping both Rob’s and my feet warm… at the same time!) Liana, who immigrated to the US from Germany in 1958, has been working in the healthcare industry for years. And with a pre-existing condition having left her uninsurable, healthcare is at the top of her political concerns. She wanted to hear all about the origin of our project and our impressions of the trip so far. And we all teared up a little when Liana described how her newest grandchild, an adopted black baby, has changed her perspective on the significance of this election.

Snuggling down in a fantastically comfy bed that night, Rob and I agreed that this was as wonderful a day as we’ve had yet!

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