On election night when a few of us gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to ring in a new era in America, there was a professional photographer who stopped by. It turns out he was veteran photojournalist Matt Mendelsohn — the guy who covered the invasion of Panama, the White House, and the Rodney King uprising for UPI.
Matt wrote an op-ed for The New York Times about his experience huddled with us on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial just past midnight as Barack Obama was giving his victory address:
I’d spent most of election night in front of the TV in Arlington, Va. But around 11 p.m. I couldn’t sit idle any longer, which is why I sped to the memorial. When I arrived, I found a TV crew sitting on the plaza above the Reflecting Pool, waiting, I assumed, for a mob to arrive. I approached with cameras in hand. One of them looked up and said with a slight roll of his eyes, “Nothing to see here.”
And so I climbed the memorial steps and came upon that small group listening to the radio. (What is it about people gathered around a transistor radio?) Surely there was someone else around — a videographer, a print reporter. But there wasn’t. I felt for the TV guy. The crowd standing in the shadow of Lincoln had the scoop, a profound event to themselves, of the people and by the people.
Matt’s photo was printed in The New York Times and is garnering much attention. He’s blogging about it at his site The Dark Slide. And you can also buy a commemorative print from him!
P.S. – If you look on a higher resolution version of this photo, you will see the top of my head by travelling the line straight down from Lincoln’s right index finger!.