Ever since I made the decision to continue my life’s journey, windows of opportunity have burst open all around me. I’m on a journey to manifest my own personal legend. I’m passionate to opening up to opportunities and friendships. In doing so, I’ve found myself back at it again, with the white Vans, this time at Lane CC working with the on-campus publication, the Torch.
On May 6, I had the photojournalistic assignment of covering Republican nominee, Donald Trump, as he made his first visit to Eugene in his presidential campaign. A teammate, from the Torch, accompanied me to the Lane Events Center. We were equipped with press passes which would not only give us access to the event, it kept us out of lines and out of jail.
Tensions were high that evening as about 4,000 Trump supporters attended the event. Over 5,000 protestors surrounded the Lane Events Center. Eugene’s division has been building over recent months, due to the political season, and felt as if it could boil over that night. Trump protestors exclaim that the Republican nominee’s morals and beliefs are not welcome in Eugene. Meanwhile Trump supporters welcome his “outside” perspective regarding politics.
I wanted to get footage for the Torch to use in its several media platforms. I took my Canon T5 DSLR with multiple lenses to capture photos for the newspaper. Also, I checked out a GoPro from school. The GoPro video recorder was mounted onto the bill of my hat. The footage captured on the GoPro was intended for the Torch’s multiple online platforms such as Facebook and Youtube. In addition to the Trump rally, we were assigned to cover the protestors surrounding the Events Center. We had our objective, and we delivered.
Inside the Lane Events Center, I was challenged by the overwhelming crowd. Trump repeatedly talked bad about the press saying, “The press are among the most dishonest group of people I’ve ever met.” He would stop throughout his speech to point all attention to the news media located in the middle of the Events Center. With his finger aimed at us, he’d instruct his supporters to turn and face the press and show there appreciation for us. The majority of the crowd would turn towards us and yell, cuss, and sent nothing but negative vibes and intentions our way. It was surreal. I couldn’t believe that I was a part of this event. “The Press,” actually had a large role in this spectacle and I was capturing all of it. Trump did a tremendous job pandering to his supporters and creating more division in Eugene by pitting “Pro-Trump” vs “Anti-Trump” and “Everyone” vs “The Press.”
After an hour long speech by Donald Trump, his supporters were released from the Events Center where they would meet with their main competition, the “Protesters.” Throughout the surrounding blocks, groups grew in anticipation of resolutions or conflict. The night was relatively organized and peaceful, with the exception of one protestor needing medical attention for a mild altercation.
The sights and sounds that I witnessed that night will last with me for a very long time. I felt lucky and somewhat privileged to have been offered an opportunity as such. I learned some professional practices that night that can help me when accepting future opportunities. The most important thing that I learned is, be as early as possible. Give yourself time to capture those “can’t miss” shots. Never be late. Photography is an art of capturing a moment or moments. If you missing those moments, you may be too early or too late. So in my future endeavors, I will show up early, display patience, and be present for the shot.
“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”
Jeffery King Osborns