Inside AIPAC

Hillary steps onstage during the morning session

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Much of my interest in photography and videography comes from a curiosity about getting to explore what goes on behind the scenes. When I was able to get media credentials to photograph at AIPAC via PoPville, I had the opportunity to get a closer look at the candidates and check it all out from inside the Verizon Center.

The conference was well-run and organized–so well organized that, as photographers, we weren’t able to move very far from press locations and escorted visits down to the floor while speakers were on stage. My photos of the event are inside those parameters. 

Of course, after hearing that Trump had decided to speak, I was also curious to see what would play out inside. And I’ll also just add upfront that I’m a Clinton fan. 

At the morning session, Clinton ended her 40 minute speech to applause and by referencing Trump’s presence, “If you see bigotry oppose it, if you see violence condemn it, if you see a bully stand up to him.”  

All photos © Lorie Shaull

Hillary steps onstage
Hillary steps onstage

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Hillary speaking at AIPAC
“If you see bigotry oppose it, if you see violence condemn it, if you see a bully stand up to him.”

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And a look behind the podium
And a look behind the podium

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As photographers, we were escorted from a press box on the first level down to the floor; there were various regulations for each speaker. The stage rotated in a circle for some of the candidates (Cruz, Kasich) so audience members could all see them and for others it remained stationary (Clinton, Trump).

Up close to Ted Cruz as he looks my way
Up close to Ted Cruz as he looks my way

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I have a fair amount of photos where Cruz seems to be looking directly at my camera and he would definitely be the winner if there was a candidate contest for making the most eye contact in a photo session. I seemed to have found myself positioned in his eye line.

And Cruz from behind after the stage rotated around to the other side
And Cruz from behind

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Kasich talks about his 35 plus years of experience in foreign policy
Kasich talks about his 35 plus years of experience in foreign policy

We were able to stay the longest & get closest (in a buffer zone) as Clinton spoke though when Cruz was on stage I was also quite close (and seemingly in his direct eye gaze). When Kasich spoke we were on the floor but farther away from the stage and, much to my dismay I didn’t get a close look at Trump’s hair since he wouldn’t allow photographers down on the floor. We watched him from the press area a couple levels up and nearby other audience members.

Trump peppered his speech with a lot of references to all the deals & dealmaking he’s accomplished and a fair amount of “believe me’s.” Somewhat surprising to me was the amount of applause during his speech but it was hard to gauge whether it was for the actual content or for his ability to entertain. From the section above the press area, I could hear some audience members predicting which phrase he would use next and repeating some of the frequently used ones. My impression was that it seemed more like entertainment to them but it was also a bit disconcerting to hear a fair amount of applause as he spoke.

Watching Trump from a designated media area. He did have his podium facing in our direction.
Watching Trump from a designated media area. He did have his podium facing in our direction.

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President of AIPAC, Lillian Pinkus speaks at the beginning of the morning session
President of AIPAC, Lillian Pinkus speaks at the beginning of the morning session

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From behind the podium as Lillian Pinkus spoke
From behind the podium as Lillian Pinkus spoke

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House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) are interviewed on stage at the beginning of the morning session
House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) are interviewed on stage at the beginning of the morning session
  • angelan

    terrific work, Lorie! neat to see this up close.

    • lorie shaull

      Thanks Angela, it was fun having the opportunity to get a bit closer than I’d normally be allowed!