History was made yesterday evening at the Democratic National Convention when Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for the U.S. presidency. The campaign trotted out a “procession of character witnesses to testify about the candidate’s strength, kindness and tenacity in an attempt to humanize Clinton,” TIME writes. And photographer Ben Lowy, who has been on assignment for TIME on both political conventions, witnessed it, capturing historic moments of pride and joy.
It followed Day 1 of the DNC where the boos and chants of Bernie Sanders supporters and protesters competed with otherwise optimistic speakers at a gathering that was seemed hardly unified.
Lowy says the space was more energized— in “both good ways and bad,” on that first night.
“The tension was palpable,” says Lowy, who started his career as a conflict photographer. But the line-up of speakers evoked an ardor unmatched by the previous week’s gathering. “When Michelle Obama came in, the floor was electric. When Bernie came out, the crowd exploded. Both in screams and with placards held aloft.”
Lowy most enjoys making portraits of the delegates who, as they watch the speakers, could be from any party in that moment—a face captivated by a speaker. The photographer says he makes every effort to wade through the propaganda and heightened security that comes with high-profile speakers and a smaller space to go beyond the “controlled spectacle and reveal something.”
Lowy is no stranger to covering elections but each four-year cycle reveals itself anew, and by the second week of conventions he says he has refined his approach, which includes implementing the latest technology. “This year I’m using a 360-video camera to document my own experiences as a photographer at the conventions,” he says. “I look like a robot walking around, and I’ve been quite the laughing stock looking like the universal soldier with a bizarre head mount. But I think it gives a really new and unique viewpoint to the conventions.”