Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stuart Dahne's Inauguration Photos

I know Stuart through his participation at the The Digital Image Cafe. He was lucky enough to get a press pass to help document the inauguration. I read what he posted in the forums at the Cafe and asked his permission to share them here in my blog because I thought that what he saw was such a positive wonderful thing. He's someone like me who got to be part of a big, special national event. And his photos are amazing and worth taking time to savor. The website with his photos: "Faces of a Nation," The Opening Ceremonies, 44th Presidential Inauguration

Stuart's Story:

Well, here's the news, the good and the bad!
Sunday was AMAZING and BRUTAL at the same time. We only had 1 pass for Sunday and I figured that I would just get in early and work from up front while Richard worked from the Press area. We arrived in time to be among the first ten people allowed in and when we got to the front we were amazed and disappointed at what we found! H.B.O. had bought Sundays show and what they did was set up so that it was impossible for anyone to see anything without using their screens! They obviously did not want anyone having any opportunity to photo or video an actual person, they set up huge risers that created a solid wall from the edge of the reflecting pool over and about 20ft high. They set up boom cameras that could go out over the pool and look straight in.....at this point I made the desision to make the best of it and shoot what I call "Faces of a Nation", the people who made this all possible! It was brutal, I had my 1D with my 70-200 f/2.8 and the 1.4 extender and my 20D with my 24-70 f/2.8. As I began to work the crowd, the energy began to become apparent! It was so intemse, people were running to get a good spot, and obviously happy to just be there to witness this! I began to tune in and what I found was people from all over the country, all coming together, not in protest (which is what I am used to on the Mall of the Capital), but with unity of purpose, hope for better times! It didn't matter about race, creed, religion, lack of religion, sex, or sexual preference... it felt like, for the first time that there might be a chance for unity..... maybe even a United States!

As the mall filled up it became increasingly difficult to move,elbo to elbo is what it was like..... before I knew it I was in the middle of a half a million people!!!! WOW! This was COOL! As the day went on (some 8 hours after we had arrived) and the speakers and entertainers had begun, the emotions began to flux!

People were smiling, laughing, and yes, crying.... overwhelmed with the hope for the possibilities. The generousity and kindness that was in the air was impressive and this energy is what kept me going throughout the day. As the sun began to set and the day was coming to an end, I began to feel what the day had done to me. I made my way through the crowd, a little disappointed that I couldn't see a thing and grateful as hell for the opportunity as a result of that to experience "THE PEOPLE"! When Richard & I finally hooked back up we shared about our day and He told me that it was as brutal where he was as for me! He was there on assignment and he actually got all that he needed and by this time I was starting to feel the pain of the day.... my back began to go out and decisions were going to have to be made.

We went back to where we were staying and discussed what we did and what we had found out about what was coming up. We found out that our passes for today were not as good as we had hoped and that our best bet was going to be to capture shots along the parade route, the more that I thought about that and the more pain that I had physically, the less attractive that was...... We then made the decision, Richard had what he needed and I had already experienced an amazing day, one that I didn't feel the need to cripple myself just to get that ONE shot!!!!
I am truly grateful for the opportunity and for the experience that I had, and more so, it was really great to finally meet yet another friend that I have made here at the Cafe!
So, gratefully and regretfully I am home today and will share in this moment in history from the comfort of my warm house with my beautiful wife!

Thanks for sharing in my journey and please take the time to visit my gallery, FACES OF A NATION

Peace & Blessings,

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