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T.J. Kirkpatrick February 12, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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The Spot Bar in Steubenville, Ohio 2012

T.J. Kirkpatrick (b. 1984, USA) is an independent photographer living in Washington, D.C. while working on long-term projects across the country. T.J.’s work is split between seeking the connections shared by different people and observing the quirks of American cultures. After receiving a degree in journalism from Boston University, he spent several years on the staff at various newspapers in New England. He has since worked throughout the U.S., in East Africa and Southeast Asia, and in 2009 was an intern for VII Photo Agency and a student at Eddie Adams Workshop XXII. His work has been recognized by the American Photography 28, 29 & 30 annuals, the International Photography Awards, and NPPA Best of Photojournalism, among others. T.J.’s clients include Esquire, Time Magazine, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

About the Photograph:

“This image is from the final weeks of the 2012 presidential election, when I based myself in Ohio to freelance for a variety of clients who had me running all across the state. I had already spent many months on-and-off of the campaign trail in various states in 2011 and 2012. Steubenville is a steel town on the Ohio River that has seen a steady population decline since many steel mills in the area closed in the 1980s. While I was there, Bloomberg contacted me looking for images of the campaign away from the candidates. I spent a day with volunteers for both the Obama and Romney campaigns covering their various phone bank and canvassing efforts, and another day at local hangouts like The Spot Bar making daily life features. Since it was expected that Ohio would be instrumental in picking the next president in the 2012 election, it felt like a good spot to place myself for the last couple of weeks before election day.”

“I spent a good deal of my time on the campaign trail trying to show the set-up, or, if you will, peaking behind the curtain to see the guy manipulating the wizard. Part of that effort involved meeting the people who were expected to buy into the show, and I got the sense that many of the locals were just worn out from the extended and aggressive campaign. The number of undecided voters in Ohio counties that had any chance of a swing were pretty small, but both campaigns had huge get-out-the-vote machines in place that caught up the deciders along with any voters who could be swayed. By the end of October it had all gotten a bit overwhelming, which is some of the feeling I tried to show with this bar scene from The Spot Bar in Steubenville, Ohio.