Carmen-Lonstein-Election-Democratic National Convention-Barack Obama-Joe-Raedle-Getty-Images-151289239

Election 2012: Looking back on the pageantry from behind the lens

November 4, 2012 | By Joe Raedle | Behind The Lens, News, Photography, Photojournalism

Unlike the Republican convention, where I spent most of the time covering demonstrations on the streets of Tampa, Florida, the Democratic convention gave me the opportunity to document activity taking place on the floor.

The pageantry of the event was, for me, the most interesting part of coverage. People arrived wearing every conceivable hat or pin, as well as creative nail polish and crazy outfits.

The challenge came when the convention was gaveled to start at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. Security on the floor wanted to keep everyone moving to prevent complete gridlock. That, of course, meant photographers had to keep moving as we shot the pictures of the colorful people on the floor.


Carmen-Lonstein-Election-Democratic National Convention-Barack Obama-Joe-Raedle-Getty-Images-151289239

Carmen Lonstein of New York, NY wears a hat decorated with campaign buttons during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


It was comical in some ways because I found myself trying to think way in advance of how to stop long enough to get what I wanted to photograph, before I was tapped on the shoulder or told to move along. There were usually bottlenecks at each of the paths leading to seats. That’s where I could count on having a few more minutes to shoot. I purposefully would go to these points when I saw them getting crowded, knowing I would have the excuse that I couldn’t move because people were blocking the way, that allowed me to look for moments to shoot right around where I stood.

While working the floor in this way, I saw Carmen Lonstein with a white veiled hat. It struck me as very elegant and I thought it would work as a picture. I made my way to her and waited for her to look up to watch the happenings on stage. Because the hat was so low on her head, I wouldn’t have been able to see her face otherwise.

Editor’s note: After 11 years at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and a stint as a freelancer, Joe Raedle joined Getty Images as a staff photographer in 2000. Based out of Texas, Washington D.C., and now Miami, his assignments vary from documenting outlandish festivities in Louisiana to covering the war in Afghanistan. Joe has frequently embedded with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and covered the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath, as well as two presidential campaigns, natural disasters and the Pope’s visit to Cuba. For more election coverage from Getty Images, visit:

More posts by this author

Comments are closed.