Carly Smith-Campaign-Kids-Hillary Clinton-Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images-81076116

Looking back at ‘innocent happiness’ on the campaign trail

October 29, 2012 | By Chip Somodevilla | Behind The Lens, News, Photography, Photojournalism

At the conclusion of a political rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) several large air cannons shot massive amounts of confetti into the air, filling the civic center with a fog of red, white and blue.

There was so much paper in the air that photographers almost lost sight of Clinton from the back riser where we were making pictures.

After filing images for deadline, hammering out details from the rally for their reports and finishing their live reports for television, journalists packed their things and began to leave. In the meantime, a handful of us still photographers noticed that a few kids had realized the potential that a room full of ankle-deep confetti held and were jumping in.

Carly Smith-Campaign-Kids-Hillary Clinton-Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images-81076116

Carly Smith, 6, of Charleston, West Virginia, plays in the confetti after a rally for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) at the Charleston Civic Center May 13, 2008 in Charleston, West Virginia. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


Covering a political race can sometimes be arduous, repetitive and a little boring. When a moment of simple and innocent happiness takes place within the planned and prepared routine of a campaign event, it can feel like pure joy to photograph.

I made a lot images of the kids romping and tossing their way through the blizzard of paper, but when 6-year-old Carly laid down in her party dress and formed a confetti angel, I knew the picture was right in front of me.

Editor’s note: After working for eight years at newspapers across the United States, Chip Somodevilla moved to Washington, DC, in 2005. Since he began working in the nation’s capital, his images of politics and protest have appeared in major publications around the world. He’s won awards in the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism, Pictures of the Year International and the White House News Photographers Association, where he was awarded Political Photo of the Year in 2006 and was named Photographer of the Year in 2010. He is now covering his second U.S. presidential race. Follow him on Instagram @somophoto, and for more election coverage, visit

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