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Photos: Here's What Happens On The Other Side Of The Recall Election Campaign Stage

A dual image of President Biden in profile. The image on the left is out of focus.
It’s rare to see an out-of-focus photograph of the President of the United States published. However, there’s no doubt there are thousands upon thousands of them on photojournalists’ cameras across the country.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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The audience, the security, the reporters, the media handlers, the venue managers, and the cameras — so many cameras. Election rallies are a whirlwind of activity and disparate interests.

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At media check-in, security asked everyone with a camera to take a picture of these random bushes and show the results on the camera screen.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)

The candidates themselves, whose stage-time takes up a very small portion of the day, are only the tip of an iceberg that is primarily made up of hundreds of hardworking, obsessive people who make it all possible. Everyone on the ground works to produce perfect images for air and publication, but behind the candidates' soundbites that play (and replay) on TV, there’s a crazy scene — it's a well-oiled and perfectly synchronized mess.

I’m LAist’s new visual journalist and I covered President Biden campaigning for Gov. Gavin Newsom in Long Beach on Sept. 13. You can see our carefully reported coverage (with regularly framed photography) here, here, and here. On this page, let me show you what it was like on the ground.

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Secret service (probably) overlooking the scene.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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Audiences at the foot of the stage would have waited at least three hours before Gavin Newsom took to the microphone. This stool, exactingly positioned by a stage hand, waited alone on the stage for even longer.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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Lights, camera...
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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Once the camera is set up, there’s a lot of waiting left to do as Univision 34's Oswaldo Borraez demonstrates.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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Reporters huddle around Sean Clegg, a media strategist for the Newsom campaign. All media had to show proof of COVID vaccination.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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Mayor Eric Garcetti takes a panorama picture of the stage and audience.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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The cameras are generally not interested in the back of Gavin Newsom’s head, but it amazes me how recognizable our public figures are.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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The President clears his throat.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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Governor Newsom finally takes his seat to listen to the President speak.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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The stage, backdrop, and designated camera areas are carefully arranged. If you misalign them, you can get images with unintended juxtapositions like this.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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The audience is mostly gone except for a few still taking selfies. Governor Newsom's stool waits to be taken home as a worker wraps cables.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)
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With the event over, a reporter is still lit for a camera.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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LAist)