Levi, Amitabh, Chris and I arrived at the airport in Los Angeles on August 24 at 6 am. We were groggy but excited as our company, Causecast, was sending us to cover the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Causecast is an organization and website that connects people with causes and issues making it easy for us to have a collective, and significant impact on social change …so it seemed only logical to shoot an event that was the epitome of hope and change. The four of us had just recently come to work with Causecast with our own causes (for me it was gay marriage, for Amitabh it was arts education, for Chris it was environment, and for Levi it was human rights) and we were excited to be a part of covering such an important event in our nation’s history.
We arrived in Denver prepared to shoot three things. The first was an event on Sunday night called Exhibit Darfur, where photos taken by a number of people who visited the war-torn nation would be displayed as part of a fundraiser. We’d also shoot Unconventional ‘08, a party hosted by artist Shepard Fairey that would bring together some of the nation’s top musicians, politicians and other celebs to gather youth energy for Obama. Finally, in between those events we planned to shoot State Your Change, a project for which we’d set up on various street corners to ask real people to finish the statement “The change in the world I’d like to see is…”
As we talked with people in Denver, the energy was palpable. We talked with hundreds of people concerned about a huge range of causes…a 16 year old girl from Sudan who was passionate about Darfur, a woman from Wyoming in her 50’s whose husband couldn’t get healthcare due to a pre-existing condition, a young man just back from Iraq who wanted the war to end. Although all of us identified different problems, we all believed in something that was the beginning of the solution…electing Barack Obama.
As I watched through the lens on Wednesday night at the Manifest Hope Gallery, where Shepard Fairey had brought together artists from across the country who’d all created works of art in support of the campaign, and where he was throwing arguably the hottest party in the nation for that week, I heard person after person talking about the change THEY wanted to see.
We had to get back to LA to begin editing the material we’d sent; so we watched on TV, from a restaurant in the Denver airport as Obama address the nation. But even there the energy was incredible. We were exhausted from working four days with a total of about 10 hours of sleep, but Obama’s words continued to inspire us. We also felt good knowing that, by encouraging people to talk about the change THEY wanted to see…we’d become a part of the change ourselves.
Los Angeles, CA