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Kamala Harris Presidential Campaign Launch Rally

You can’t be what you can’t see. – Marian Wright Edelman

 (bryan farley)

On Sunday, January 27, 2019, California Senator Kamala Harris officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf introduced Harris in front of City Hall. According to various reports, the Oakland Police Department estimated more than 20,000 people attended.

Photo Gallery Slideshow

 (bryan farley)

Harris established herself as a leading candidate, but it’s early. The evening that Harris launched her campaign, Howard Schultz (almost) announced that he was running as an Independent. A few days later, the federal government reopened. President Trump finally delivered the State of the Union address. By the time the first votes are cast next February in Iowa, Virginia might… I don’t know about Virginia.

 (bryan farley)

I attended the event with two student journalists. In the photo above, high school student Ivan Garcia is photographing Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. Libby introduced and endorsed Senator Harris. I talked with the Lt. Governor and her husband Markos Kounalakis, but I didn’t ask them who they were endorsing. Instead, I asked the Second Gentleman if his title changed when the Governor and the First Partner were out of the state.

 (bryan farley)

In 2011, California’s current First Partner Jennifer Seibel Newsom released a documentary Miss Representation. The Marian Wright Edelman quote at the top of this post appears in the film. It’s a main theme of the documentary. I wonder if it influences how I document events.

I often take different pictures of different people at different places doing different things. I try to help some people be seen.

 

 (bryan farley)

Having worked on campaigns many years ago, I know that campaign staff are hustling during a big event. Having grown up with a father in law enforcement, I know that police officers appear calm, even when working. Both groups are focused and working hard, even if they appear different.

 (bryan farley)

The people behind the camera are rarely seen, but I see them. Sometimes I forget that I am a photographer, and yet I wonder how photographers do it. Who are these people? Why do they arrive early, stand in one place and wait for hours?

I can’t stand still, so I need to keep moving. I also loaned my telephoto lens to the student photographer so that he could have some better shots and stand in the same place.

 (bryan farley)

While the crowd was walking into the seated area, a reporter asked me what I did. At first, I didn’t have an answer. I almost never have an answer. Then, State Senator Nancy Skinner walked up to the Lt. Governor. Soon, Libby Schaaf and the Lt. Governor visited, and I photographed both of them. I turned to the reporter and said something like, “There, that’s what I do. Some of the leading women politicians in California are talking to each other in front of us, and I photographed them and talked to them. I helped the student journalist meet another leader. That’s what I do.”

And I asked the Second Gentleman a question he had never been asked.

 

 (bryan farley)

I will remember the Marian Wright Edelman line in the future, because I need it to remind me that I am doing something useful. I am helping document future leaders and future storytellers. I have a purpose.

Sometimes I go crazy when I am at a large event like this, but not because I am in a crowd. I wonder why I am the only person talking to California’s first woman Lieutenant Governor. I start double checking the internet, even though I met her the previous week. (Is she really our Lieutenant Governor?) Are reporters uninterested? Are they unable to see that women can be leaders? Do I see something that others don’t?

 (bryan farley)

I often fear that I am missing something. At an event like this, I start searching for Jennifer Seibel Newsom and Jennifer Granholm (both Californian’s who have an acting history, if my internet searches are correct.) Are they in disguise? While I think that is possible, they could probably appear as themselves and be still be ignored.

 (bryan farley)

Change takes time AND effort. Political rallies are not often portrayed realistically. For many people, the rally was memorable; for some, it was boring. For many people, it was memorable and boring. That’s normal.

 (bryan farley)

It’s also normal that I keep documenting these stories, even if I am only writing for my mom and my children. It’s important that they know I can see what is possible, even if others don’t believe it yet. Anyway, if only for my daughter, that is enough. Today she turns 15. It’s important that she can see what she can be.

Dorothy … And a Band to Sing With

I have wanted to photograph the band Dorothy since I received an email from their publicist last year. Unfortunately, I missed last year’s shows, but I finally saw them at Sacramento’s Ace of Spades on January 19th. It was worth the wait and the trip. I even saw a cool opening band Spirit Animal.

Below are the galleries and some thoughts.

Dorothy Photo Gallery / Slideshow

 (bryan farley)

I wish my positive review would help Dorothy Martin and her “can’t miss” band succeed, but I worry that I am not the best judge of contemporary music trends, and my review will only hurt. Dorothy has the music and the musicians to make it, but I don’t know if it’s their time.

 (bryan farley)

When I saw Dorothy on January 19th, I was aware that Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton both shared that birthday. The music business is difficult, and leading women singers have had special challenges. If Janis and Dolly had become friends, perhaps Janis would have survived. Janis deserved a better support system consisting of people who understood her. (As I write this, I realize that Janis and Dolly might have been friends, and some challenges are still too great to overcome.)

 (bryan farley)

Dorothy Martin recorded with Dolly Parton recently. Today there is a more support for women in the music industry, but there are still challenges for a woman leading a rock band. Dorothy identified one of the challenges in her debut album ROCKISDEAD — there just aren’t that many rock bands now.

 (bryan farley)

If rock music were alive and well, Dorothy might have a place filling large arenas. The band is that good. I felt transported to a different time when great guitar playing mattered and singers had charisma.

 (bryan farley)

Even though I only photographed the first three songs, I stayed until the final song had finished. (I wanted to hear my favorite Dorothy song “Flawless.”) When Dorothy introduced “Flawless,” I realized that Dorothy Martin will have the challenge of being a woman in the industry. Besides being a revenge song about an ex, “Flawless” is a beautiful song. These types of songs expose challenges.

 (bryan farley)

In American popular music, many people associate the revenge song with Taylor Swift. Of course, Swift writes revenge songs, but she didn’t invent them nor does she own them. If Americans were more familiar with women musicians (or women’s anger), perhaps more songs like Flawless would have a chance at becoming jagged little anthems.

 (bryan farley)

As for Spirit Animal, they are everything an opening band should be and more. As soon as they started playing, I remembered why I enjoyed photographing concerts. Spirit Animal played with energy. 

Perhaps because I was back in Sacramento, I kept imagining that Spirit Animal was OKGo‘s spirit animal. It was as though OKGo had finally gotten off the treadmills, and decided to go on the road as a badass opening band. (I first saw the OKGo Treadmill Video in my Master’s of Educational Technology class at Sac State in 2006.) It seems like something OKGo would do. Maybe they will find each other next year in 2020.


 (bryan farley)

When I photograph new bands, I wonder if they can fill a bigger stage some day. This band could.¬†They engaged the audience and found ways for the crowd to participate. If I can remember, I will start asking other bands if they have a spirit animal… or an exercise routine.

Spirit Animal Gallery

 (bryan farley)

Often I include a notes section on my old blog that provides more background and other photos. (I might add that later, but for now I will write more here.) For the blog post title, I borrowed the title of Joan Baez‘s memoir And A Voice to Sing With. In an interview, Dorothy Martin mentioned Baez as an influence. I also like how the title solves the problem I had explaining that Dorothy is the lead singer and the name of the band.

I also read several articles, including one by Steve Baltin. Baltin referred to Dorothy as “can’t miss” in his July, 2018 Forbes article.” (He recently wrote an article about Joplin.) I also may have met Steve at Grammy Camp several years ago. I don’t really know that Dorothy met Dolly. I had to trust the internet. Besides reading about Dorothy, I learned about their producer Linda Perry. Before Perry became a producer, she was a famous singer proving that there is life after Rock & Roll… or at least new life.

From an Oakland Gala

I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise and Keep Oakland Housed on Friday, January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theater.

Here is the photo gallery; it might be best viewed in slideshow format.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

I have been photographing Mayor Schaaf since she ran for Oakland City Council. After she became mayor, I photographed her first inauguration and celebrations.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

In November 2015, when Libby celebrated her 50th with a fundraiser gala, I photographed that event too.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

The Bay Area is fortunate to have innovative committed leaders. We are also fortunate to have artists who are committed to changing how we see the world, including Bandaloop. Bandaloop is a group of dancers who dance through the sky.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

I met Sara Agah Franti and Michael Franti at the gala. They are two more Bay Area artists who help us see and hear the world differently. Michael Franti is a popular musician. Together they have created a non-profit called Do It for the Love.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

The Oakland Promise is still new, but it could change lives for generations. It connects many different programs and organizations to the people who need the services. If government did this more often, people would trust government more and become more upset when government shuts down.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

There was an auction; it was fun and fast.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

The gala was fashionable and friendly.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

Today, the Oakland Promise feels shiny and new, but this is the last season that the Golden State Warriors play their home games in The Town. Many local non-profits have benefited from the Warriors recent success. I wonder if local organizations will lose money when we lose our teams. Will we start bidding more on Oakland A’s tickets?

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

For me, the most important moment of the night occurred when Oakland’s Fantastic Negrito played one song at the end of the gala. (I think that he performed “A Letter To Fear.”) Until that moment, I celebrated my own participation a little too much. (Sometimes when I take photographs, I believe that my photographs will solve problems.) During the gala, I needed to move my car. When I walked back to the theater, I ignored several homeless people. When a couple people asked me for spare change, I found their request inconsiderate. Couldn’t they see that I was in a hurry to volunteer at a benefit for homeless people?

Perhaps because I am writing this post on MLK’s birthday, I was already thinking about Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. Fantastic Negrito’s vocals and lyrics reached my soul in that way only Truth can. We have so much more work to do, and so much further to go. Sometimes, we just need to be nudged in the right direction.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

I was still considering Fantastic Negrito’s performance when I walked into State Senator Nance Skinner. I had missed photographing her at a recent event, so I was grateful to talk to her and take a few photos before walking back to my car. Skinner has quietly become an effective state legislator.

The 2019 Mayor's Inaugural Gala to benefit the Oakland Promise was held on January 11, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. (bryan farley)

P.S. Early this morning, another Bay Area politician declared her candidacy for Presidency. In other parts of the country, it might be more than a post script. Here, we expect action.

NOTE: it’s the next day and I thought of an additional postscript. I don’t think that the former prosecutor needs my advice; however, it’s not enough to “follow the money.” In the digital age, you must Follow the Photos.