Brooks Kraft spent the weekend documenting the first step in the long road to the 2012 presidential election. Kraft, an editorial and commercial photographer based in Washington DC, has covered 5 presidential campaigns for TIME, as well as 10 years at the White House.
During previous presidential campaigns in the 1990s, cameras were almost exclusively in the hands of press photographers. In 2011, these same photographers are joined by entire crowds actively shooting with their cellphones.
“It sometimes seems that crowds no longer witness events, instead watching them on screens,” says Kraft. He discovered that using his mobile phone allowed him to capture what he was seeing without causing people to react to his larger professional camera. While on assignment for TIME this past week in New Hampshire, Kraft alternated between the two mediums. He enjoys the surreal and interpretive look that mobile photos provide of the American political process.
Kraft notes that the photos seemed to fit the more down to earth political tone of the early primaries—a time that is often vastly different than the typical politics found in Washington.
“Before the arrival of the pipe and drape, the image handlers, and the Secret Service, it is still possible to see the unique character and origins of our process of choosing a future President,” says Kraft.
More of Kraft’s work is available on his website.