By Katelyn Umholtz
Covering presidential campaigns can be a process. When those candidates are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, things are even more interesting.
For Jessica Kourkounis, a freelance photographer from Philadelphia, it just makes access harder.
“I wouldn’t categorize either of them being awesome access,” Kourkounis said. “In 2008, access was better. It gets worse each cycle, from my experience.”
In covering both candidates, Kourkounis said she found the access at Clinton’s rallies to be slightly better. At the Clinton rallies, she said, she was allowed to stand in the buffers for as long as she wanted, whereas at Trump rallies, the time was extremely limited.
“It’s really difficult [at Trump rallies] to get crowd shots because it’s generally just the back of their heads if you’re in that riser area,” Kourkounis said. “With Clinton, you’re in the buffer for so long that you can work photographs of Clinton and the crowd.”
She’s not the only one in the riser area at the Trump rallies either. Kourkounis said she was packed in there with other journalists, with not much access to go anywhere else or move around freely.
“You really are kind of caged in,” Kourkounis said.
Stacie Scott, a staff photographer for the Colorado Springs Gazette, said she expected access to be limited when she showed up at a Trump rally. She didn’t that stop her, though, from getting a unique image.
“It’s a fun challenge because you want to get something a little bit different than just a podium shot,” Scott said. “But you don’t always have the access to do that.”
However, the event loosened up a bit for the press, which lead Scott to an unforgettable image.
“To my surprise at the end of his speech, someone from his campaign brought the still photographers up on stage,” Scott said. “He was handed the babies. It was a very lucky thing to happen, and I was in the right place at the right time.”
In the picture of Trump and the babies, he appears to be just as perturbed as the babies he’s holding. The photo won first place in the NPPA monthly clip contest for the Northwest Region.
Since covering two Trump events, Scott comes back to the newsroom with a disc full of “goofy expressions.”
“He’s just wild,” Scott said. “If you’re looking through your pictures of him when trying to send some to the paper, they’re just all these goofy faces.”
“I didn’t know how to portray him in a way that didn’t make him look goofy, but then I realized that’s just him,” she said.