Anyone who knows me, knows that I am crazy about popcorn. I’m just crazy for it. If I’m out for dinner and a movie, I don’t care if I just had a seven course meal… course number eight will be popcorn. I think that’s why I love movies so much… I do have a point and it has to do with photographing the Governor.
A few years ago the Center for Women sponsored a showing of a movie. Thinking there might be popcorn, I attended. There wasn’t. The film was Iron Jawed Angels. Somewhere along the way I heard it was Women’s Equality Day. Interesting, I thought to myself, still disappointed in the absence of my favorite butter flavored snack. But in minutes I was riveted to the screen, watching the story unfold of the women who fought for the right to vote.
I was raised to take pride in my right to vote. It just so happened that my eighteenth year fell on an election year and I have voted every election since… even most local ones. I have always felt the responsibility to participate as a citizen of the US of A. Learning the story of the suffragettes’ struggle for my right to vote at age eighteen was astounding. I couldn’t help but feel that they were proud of me for exercising that right. It all came full circle for me when I was snapping away, a few Women’s Equality Days later and I heard Governor Haley reference and recommend the movie that inspired me so long ago.
As a photographer, I always find my job a teensy bit harder when I am photographing an even that I find really interesting. I am so torn about photographing and paying attention. Such was the case this Women’s Equality Day. Governor Nikki Haley stopped by for a chat with Jennett Alterman, director of the Center for Women and two hundred other interested women (and a few men) and was put together with the help of the League of Women Voters. Politics aside, it was so inspiring to hear the story and philosophy of a woman who will not be stopped. Just as the mixed fluorescent and yellow spot lights would not stop me from capturing the moment. She had inspired me to persevere.
There were several questions during the Q & A from Ashley Hall students about what inspires her to keep going in the face of adversity and who in her circle helps her when the going gets tough. I loved seeing the look of revelation on the girl’s faces when the Governor replied that she too needed a group of friends to support her with a listening ear and encouraging words. You could see that they were making the connection that the people you surround yourself with can indicate your trajectory in life. She spoke of overcoming challenges in her early life and how that uniquely prepared her for facing challenges in her professional life and now in her political career. “[A life in] politics is different for a woman, not harder, just different.”, she insisted, to the room full of young ladies and women on the verge of running out and signing up to run for the nearest elected office. The eager young girls in purple plaid swarmed the Governor when she left the stage to mingle. They all snapped shots of her and with her using their cameras and iphones, giggling amongst themselves at their proximity to a woman of power. That alone was fascinating to me, a photographer and a people watcher. I would have enjoyed watching that for hours… with a bucket of popcorn, of course.
My good friends Erica and Jason of Docent Prodigy Videography captured the whole thing in action and I will post a link to the whole talk when I get that from them. Until then, Enjoy these!