This past week, Florida based freelance photographer Mark Wallheiser was asked by Getty to cover a Donald Trump rally in Mobile, Alabama. After spending nearly the entire day hanging around (arrival at 1 pm for an event that started at 7 pm), and entertaining himself taking shots of the set-up, Wallheiser continued through Trump’s speech, then stood back as the national media was allowed to photograph the candidate close-up. Having worked freelance more than 40 years, Wallheiser says his preference is to shoot wide-angle, which gives him “much more personal-type shots than what the telephoto can give you,” and that’s how he captured this “perfect storm” moment of an excited mother presenting her baby to Trump. Backed by a crazed, animated crowd, including that other lady with her “Thank You, Lord Jesus, President Trump” sign, you’ll probably want to embiggen it for the full effect.
Wallheiser says this marks the first time he’s experienced one of his pictures going viral — Donnie Darko director, Richard Kelly tweeted that he thinks the photographer should win a slew of prizes…
Whoever took this photo should win a Pulitzer, a Peabody, an Emmy and a free trip to my heart. Full masterpiece. pic.twitter.com/Mc3gKSBoss— Richard Kelly (@JRichardKelly) August 23, 2015
and as you might imagine, there’ve been more than a few memes. His favorites are:
The mother in the photo, Sydnie Shuford, says she’s not necessarily a Trump supporter; rather, that she attended the rally out of “curiosity.”
�I went to see Donald Trump because I have watched his television show and I have enjoyed him for years. My attendance didn�t have much to do with politics at this point in time. I was simply curious.
My husband and I enjoyed the picture, and laughed at nearly all of the photo shops and captions. We were, however, disturbed to see the negative comments people were making in response to the newspaper stories and the picture…’Alabamians are racist, stupid, have the lowest IQs in the country, the highest school dropout rate, etc.’�
Imagine that; people made negative comments! But, I know that we here are above such intemperance. We can appreciate this photograph simply as what it is: an accurate representation of the enthusiasm over our country’s democratic process. We are as Wallheiser himself, who says of Trump’s fans, “They are passionate. These guys seemed a little more excited to have a candidate that they feel good about, I would say. Whatever reasons there are, they like Trump. And I make no judgment on that. I�m media and I�m neutral.”
Me, too. I’m neutral!