In Mexico, ace freelance photographer Keith Dannemiller has been traveling the presidential campaign trail.
He’s got many of the shots posted online. He paused long enough to add some comments on the job …
On the campaign: I have been covering these happenings for the last 24 years — this is my fifth time – as a photojournalist for various newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. I swore to myself that 2006 with Felipe Calderon (PAN), Andres Manuel López Obrador (PRD) and Roberto Madrazo (PRI) competing would be my swan song.
On weirdness: Just yesterday, ex-President Vicente Fox, he of the PAN, who so convincingly dethroned the PRI in 2000, says that he is backing the PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto for president.
Manuel Bartlett Diaz (then Secretary of the Interior and necessarily of the PRI), who infamously declared in 1988, that the vote tabulating computer system had crashed on election night, denying victory to the coalition that supported Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas for president, is now candidate for Senador in the state of Puebla from the left-center PRD party – the party of Mr. Cárdenas.
On Enrique Pena Nieto, candidate of once-ruling PRI: Everything during the trip to Queretero, three hours north of Mexico City was meticulously handled, just like it was in the good ole’ days of the PRI hegemony. Myself and the US reporter were picked up at the reporter’s Mexico City hotel and driven to the forum that Mr. Peña Nieto was leading on the aerospace industry in Mexico.
When the event was over we were led to a room by ourselves for an interview with the candidate. I was allowed to set up some small strobes with umbrellas and wander freely around the interview area. With a long lens, I could fill the frame with the candidate’s face and the images convey some of his emotional response to the questions. With the interview finished, to my surprise, Mr. Peña Nieto began to walk, surrounded by a couple of bodyguards, to his waiting SUV. I shot from the balcony of the building where we had just been and then moved down into the scrum. It took him an hour and a half to go about three hundred meters, and he was mobbed mostly by adoring female supporters, who were grabbing, kissing and posing for photos with the candidate.
On Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, candidate of the leftist PRD: If I were a Mexican, I would vote for Andrés Manuel López Obrador. This has to do with my political and philosophical beliefs, but more importantly with his style. The man can be sardonic, ironic, funny and heartfelt all in the same speech. In a word he is more human, than any of the other candidates on the stump, and this, by a long shot. In my opinion, he leaves himself open to more revealing photos. He seems to have the ability to step outside himself, distance himself from his persona as a political candidate and look back in at the situation in which he finds himself.
Check out all Keith Dannemiller’s photographs.