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  • I suppose you can call it that. Maybe "thinking back" is better. I found myself doing it, as many others did last week in the dwindling days of the administration. Friends and former colleagues posted collections from their archives, and I did as well. I shot much of the campaign for myself, freelancing here and there to pay bills, but never at the expense of ownership rights. I wanted these images for the future. I wanted them for moments like this, and those in the years to come. I wanted to remember how it felt to be there on the ground floor, in front of the front row.
  • It was a scramble at first. There were more than 20 candidates running in Iowa at one point. For much of it, then-Sen. Obama was mired mid-pack unable to overcome rallies that tilted a bit wonkish and weren't living up to the buzz surrounding his campaign. I chased him all over the state, and while his story was compelling and the ground game was there, the spark was elusive.
  • Towards the end of the summer, things started to change. The fair. The steak fry. The family.

    A new picture emerged, and the momentum began.
  • November 10, 2007 - if ever there was a time and place to find the spark, the night of the Jefferson Jackson speech was it. Sitting in the stage buffer with all the other photographers and feeling that building shake, we knew the game had changed. Over drinks later that night, a bunch of us joked about where the hell this person had been hiding for the past year. Whoever this guy was, well he could be president. Forget that law professor we'd been drifting through the fields with. The moment would come into clearer and clearer relief with time.
  • What strikes me most in thinking back almost 10 years now is the galvanizing optimism that drove many of those campaigns, both Democrat and Republican. That certainly wasn't there this time around, and I avoided campaign jobs like the plague this past cycle.

    On a personal level, these photos reconnect me with that optimism. They remind me of the wonderful things that happened that year beyond the flag-draped gyms and arenas. Making a fantastic new group of friends and meeting colleagues-to-be. Parlaying the photo collection into a job working for a news magazine in DC. Meeting this cute TV news producer who would become my wife.

    The highs and lows of the past decade seem at once a blur of progress and a lurching trail of missed chances. But as I sit here today thinking back, remembering what those days not just looked like, but what they felt like, I find my beliefs and deepest held convictions cast from the mold created in that time. Because of that, I still look at these pictures and think of the future, as optimistic as ever.
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