TIME Seeing Politics

Chasing the Flag in New Hampshire

No matter the candidate, the colors are the same

Landon Nordeman has captured it all. Flag shorts, flag neckties, flag scarves, flag sweaters, flag dresses—even blue socks with white stars. The New York-based photographer has made his reputation shooting the in-between moments of American spectacles, from dog spectacles to fashion shows, so he’s in his element covering the presidential campaign for TIME. “The fashion of the political scene is totally unique unto itself,” he says.

Nordeman followed Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie as they campaigned across New Hampshire. And, though each has his or her own platform, there’s one element he can find at any of their events. “When I arrive at an event I look for people showing their patriotism with their clothes,” he says. “I love to photograph the colors red and blue, and of course the flag themes are always present.”

Inspired by photographer Robert Frank and painter Jasper Johns, Nordeman believes the flag is the “perfect American symbol to document or interpret,” he says. “It is charged with meaning and history.”

Through his work, Nordeman has been able to meet many supporters from both parties and he’s been struck by their fervor. “I certainly appreciate people’s inclination to love and celebrate what they believe in,” he says. “In that way, seeing people get excited for a candidate was familiar to me—like watching an audience root for their favorite sports team, or a fashionista excited to see the latest collection from their favorite designer.” The difference here, he adds, is “that these candidates can change the history of the world if they become president. It’s amazing to think about that potential.”

Landon Nordeman is an award-winning documentary photographer living in New York City. You can see more of his work here and follow him on Instagram @landonnordeman.

Paul Moakley and Chelsea Matiash, who edited this photo essay, are respectively TIME’s deputy director of photography and deputy multimedia editor at TIME.com.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

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