When I first stepped foot in Connecticut as a photographer, it was after nearly 2 years as a staff photographer at a small daily newspaper that was located far from everywhere and close to nothing.
I had a great experience at the newspaper that gave me my first job out of college, but as a kid that grew up on Long Island in the shadow of NYC, I was looking for more. Small town life was not so much for me, even if rural upstate NY treated me well.
My very first day as a news photographer in Connecticut was the start of my 10 months as a photographer at the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport. A medium sized daily paper, they had a staff nearly a dozen photographers, a far cry from the 1 of 2 photographers I was at the Times Herald in Olean, NY.
When I entered the Post on day 1, I was full of enthusiasm and energy. I was determined to make the best of whatever they threw at me. I wanted to make an good impression. This was September 1992 and the country was deep in the midst of a Presidential campaign which saw Bill Clinton taking on George H. W. Bush. I didn’t know that much about Presidential politics, but certainly didn’t think the small, mostly democratic state of Connecticut would be a regular stop on the campaign trail.
To my great surprise, assignment 1 on day 1 in Connecticut had me covering a visit from then barely known Hillary Clinton during a campaign visit to the Bridgeport YMCA, just a short walk from the Post HQ on State Street in downtown Bridgeport.
I don’t remember much about the assignment, but had a clear recollection of making an unusual photo of Hillary Clinton tossing basketball. I have no idea why she was shooting hoops, but welcome to the campaign trail, where anything goes if the campaign thinks it will convince someone to cast a vote for them.
After catching up with my good friend Ned a few weeks back, I passed the YMCA in Bridgeport and recalled the assignment to him. Little did I know, he had just been organizing and archiving a lot of old and historical images for the photo dept in preparation for the newspaper moving from the State Street building. The 2 images seen here were part of the reorganization. Yes, they were real photographic prints and we shot film back then. We actually printed all our own photos on deadline too. Now these photos are not remarkable in any way, but the opportunity to look back and see where it all started for me in Connecticut is interesting. I also realized looking at these prints that Hillary Clinton didn’t always wear pant suits.
Since then I have covered a handful of Presidential campaigns as they came through Connecticut, mostly for the Associated Press in the mid-1990’s. I don’t cover campaign politics much anymore, but it’s fun to look back and see some of the early work and experiences that shaped me as a photographer.