I've noticed that when I am looking through a camera, I perceive the world differently.
I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm peeking through a small screen or if I'm being more attentive, but I notice I pick up many details that I don't notice without it. I watch the interaction more. Through the constant clicking, I watch for the glimmer in someone's eye, the passion on their lips as they talk about things that they believe. I watch for their smallest interactions with the people around them. I wait for the moment that the image speaks the words of 1000 words. When I'm behind the camera, I don't feel as if I am them. I am fully captured by my job and the attempt to get the shot that I know I can get.
By taking photos at events, I feel that I perceive the events differently than if I were in the crowd. With Vivek Ramaswamy at Vektoberfest, I noticed how as he worked his way through the crowd he gave his full attention to the person he was talking to. Even if it was only thirty seconds, that person was the only thing he was paying attention to. If it was a shared smile, a pat on the back, or a warm embrace, the voter felt seen by Ramaswamy. He radiated a sense of warmth I had not seen from other candidates.
Similarly, Tim Scott went out of his way to greet people before his event, and he was always looking for the next person to talk to. At the end of the town hall, if someone had caught his attention, there was more engagement. However, Scott did not carry the same warmth as Ramaswamy. With Vivek, you could tell he received a sense of fulfillment with each new person he spoke to. This may be because he is a first-time candidate and has yet to receive the sense of community and support those already in office possess, like Senator Scott. Even so, there seemed to be a sense of connectedness Ramaswamy got from seeing people show up to support him and his ideas.
However, the interpersonal experience supporters received with Vivek disappeared when he got on stage. He was now an actor and had a show to perform. And a show it was. With the throwing of hats, streaming into mics, and drone lighting up the show, the event was such a spectacle it was hard to take seriously. It was so different from the grassroots, homey feelings I received from Tim Scott at his event.
At Tim Scott, I could tell he believed every word he spoke. Even if he was confused by a question and needed further information, there was kindness in his eyes. Even if I personally don't agree with his stances, I could tell he was a good person who wanted the best for others in the frame of his beliefs. This same kindness stayed throughout the entire event. Scott's town hall event felt a lot more like Iowa than Vivek's.