The man is flooded in blue light; his eyes intensely looking up at a giant screen in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia as President Barack Obama is about to take the stage on the third night of the Democratic National Convention. “I was wondering what was going on in his head,” says photographer Natalie Keyssar. Was it approval? Was it disapproval? “I can’t tell what he was thinking.”

Keyssar was captivated by the man’s intense gaze. “Something really hit me,” she says. For the past four days, the 32-year-old photographer has found herself attracted by the fringes of the historic moment, when one of America’s major parties selects, for the first time, a woman to run for the country’s highest office. “Photographically, I think I’m more interested by wherever anyone isn’t looking,” she says. “I want to see what it means. You can’t see what something means by looking directly at it.”

Keyssar’s photographs portray the people who rebelled against their own party, taking to Philadelphia’s streets to advocate for their own political beliefs, often at odds with the Democrats’ official platform. “Society has a tendency of focussing on the celebrities and those who have power,” says Keyssar, “when the whole point of this convention is that the power is supposed to come from the people.”



Natalie Keyssar is a freelance photojournalist based in New York. Last year she photographed our cover story on What It’s Like To Be a Cop In America Today.

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