Every two years, there will always be an election. I have always been excited about those, but this upcoming election…. eh, I am not sure I am so excited. I sit back and think I want to sit this one out and not get involved. For the past 7 years, I have donated my services to a specific party. I no longer belong to that party, but I still support some of their candidates. Advice from other photographers is that I should stay away from politics because it ruins business. I do not believe you can get away from politics and the division that it has caused since 2008. (It’s not getting better!)
A brief history on me; I returned to Maryland in 2007. I began my professional photography business in September 2009. I mainly wanted to give back to my community, but turns out giving back means constantly giving more and more of yourself until you are burned out from giving. I digress there. I cannot remember how I get into taking photos of some of the local politicians, but I am thankful to have met most of them.
Some of the first people I met were Kelly Schulz (then delegate and now Secretary of DLLR), Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve (County Council), Mark and Cindy Schaff (what title could you give this power couple?), Farrell Keough (The Farrell), and Hayden Duke (candidate for Alderman).
So, when working with these folks, they allowed me to attend Lincoln-Reagan Day dinners and photograph their events. I am forever grateful for those opportunities. But, those opportunities only exist when those on the Central Committees actually like you. (I haven’t photographed a Lincoln-Reagan Day since 2014.) I seem to digress a lot.
From those meetings, I was able to meet great folks like David Brinkley (former Senator, current State Budget Director), Sandra Dalton (Clerk of the Court), and Sharon Strine (what’s your title?).
It’s great when you receive a text on your birthday from these individuals. Year after year, these great people have always treated me with respect and geniunely care about the people they serve. It was an honor to photograph their annual events. (I do miss the spaghetti dinners Madam Secretary!)
I was also privileged to be invited into current Mayor Randy McClement’s family during his bid for Mayor. I got to know his family and help on some material for his campaign. I am impressed with how he handles his duties as Mayor working with a majority opposite party Aldermen. I support him then and will continue to support him.
I mentioned Sharon Strine. She is one woman that I was very lucky to meet. I am not sure how we first met or what she thought of me as a photographer, but I was introduced to her when Dan Bongino (former Secret Service and current contributer to Conservative Review) ran for office of Senator. I photographed one fundraising event they had at Flying Dog Brewery and I was invited by Ric Saylor to take some shots.
I can imagine what the thought of most of those people were because I was an outsider essentially. But, Sharon brought me into her family eventually as Dan Bongino was running for Congressman in District 6, almost winning that election. That was truly an emotional night. Because of them, I was able to meet and photograph such awesome politicians that I still support to this day. Maybe not through my photography (always available if you need me by the way).
Congressman Louis Gohmert of Texas was one of the first politicians I met. This was a fundraiser for Dan Bongino and he came out to endorse him for his bid. Senator Mike Lee of Utah also came out to support Dan’s bid. There were many people who supported Dan and I could not believe the support system I was able to witness first hand.
When Congressman Bartlett held the seat, I was not involved and did not get to witness what I did with Dan. I am forever grateful for that. I am sure there were many other current and former politicians who supported Dan. One of the more controversial endorsements he had was from Congressman Allen West of Florida. Very nice man!
After that election period, I was not doing much with my photography. Two local elections occurred resulting in two investitures. The first one was Scott Rolle (Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel) who was voted in as judge.
It was a touching time as Scott allowed me to photograph this. His relationship with his parents, brother, children, it was all an emotional time. It was great to see how proud everyone who support him was during this time. Another investiture was that of Charlie Smith (State’s Attorney).
Like I said, there is probably an election of some kind every two years. I met this next person through Dan Bongino events, because Frank Howard supported Dan and was also involved in politics in Montgomery County.
Frank threw his hat in the ring for Congressional 6th District. The primaries really were tense among all the candidates, but I also thought common sense and what Frank stood for meant so much more to me than what the others said or did. For that reason, Frank will always have my support.
I will always support candidates that I feel represent me and my views. I am not a rich man (I know, gasp!), but I can donate my time and services to campaigns.
I received more compliments for a campaign photo with Frank than I have my entire time taking photos. We actually had a great cooperating day from mother nature when we did his photos. I think of the many that I took, this one really does tell his story. Who knows, maybe photography can make a difference in a voter’s mind. If the photo looks like they are approachable, inviting, and portray leadership.
Sometimes, there are friends who run for office and not let you know at all until it was too late to assist. Even friends you have known since high school. We went our separate ways after high school; him Army and me the Marine Corps. But, it is good to know that William Folden (former County Sheriff Deputy and current State Delegate). I hadn’t met his family until this last minute photo opportunity to help support his campaign.
Politicians have to do what they’ve got to do in order to get elected sometimes, but I sure have to trust he knows what is best for him and his constituents. That is what truly matters.
Above is a man who beat all odds in Maryland and became the first Republican Governor in a blue state in a very long time. Governor Larry Hogan has battled opposition from his own legislature, health scares, and will soon be fighting for his political seat. This photo opportunity was provided to me from help with those mentioned above and I appreciate the historic change to take photos; stand there in the snow and cold. It was well worth it.
I am not sure who I thank for this opportunity to attend CPAC for one day. I say one day because the weather was not conducive for me to attend the other days. I should have reserved a hotel room, but I had no idea the snow would impact my time there.
I was able to get some good photos of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Carson, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Congresswoman Mia Love of Utah. She has got to be one of my favorite Representatives I can never vote for. I do love her common sense approach to legislation and intelligence to work with everyone for the good of the country.
No one tops the man who is the feature photo; Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. This man has my support for photography any time he wants it. (I know that will never happen!) He was my first choice for President and hopefully that ambition to lead this country will occur again in the future.
I know you all are dying to know who I am going to photograph next. Your guess is as good as mine. There are a lot of folks who have filed for seats and I think that is such a promising sign. Good luck to all of you!