1980. The general election.
I was working for a small chain of regional newspapers called The New River Newspapers. There were three. One was located in Pulaski. Another in Radford and a semi-weekly in Blacksburg. Virginia.
As I recall, this picture was taken early in the morning of the election. Jimmy Carter v Ronald Reagan for the presidency. The economy was terrible. There was very high unemployment. The Iran hostage crisis had been going on for a year. The United States attempt to rescue them ended in failure with helicopters crashing in the desert. Reagan promised, “Morning in America.” The sitting president — Carter — was crushed in a landslide which ushered in the Reagan Era. The rest, as they say, is history.
Which brings us today. I don’t comment on political issues on Storyteller. Let’s just say that this is the longest and worst election season that I’ve ever witnessed. I can only begin to guess at what my friends in other countries think.
The picture. I made this picture in Radford. For the News-Journal. I think that I walked down the street to find a polling place. I used to call this picture, “It Takes Three to Vote.” That’s not fair. The three women were working at the polling place. One of the machines was having problems. They were trying to repair it, without shutting it down.
I was still using heavy gear at this time. Likely Nikon F 2 bodies. The lens was 20mm, which was — like today — my bread and butter lens. The film was Tri-x, which I probably pushed a stop from ISO 400 to ISO 800 to get a little more speed in darker places.
Funny thing about this picture. I made it on the day that Ronald Reagan was elected president. By the time he was inaugurated, I had moved on to the next step in my career ladder. I was working in Winston-Salem. North Carolina.