Voting With My Head & Not With My HeartMonday, May 02, 2011
|Jack Layton, Photo Alex W-H|
If someone asked me what I do best as a photographer I would argue that I am the best political portrait photographer in the business. Unfortunately, from the point of view of taking pictures of people in power, my political portraits have been of the Federal and Provincial NDP. This means that the only time that I photographed candidates who were elected to positions of such power happened only when my campaign poster of Mike Harcourt was of the man who indeed did become Premier. Years later, in 2002, I photographed Ujjal Dosanjh when he was BC Premier, but he lost. Until now I have photographed all the men and women of BC’s NDP who have been the leaders of the opposition.
In Sept 2003 I was hired to take photographs of Jack Layton for the upcoming election of 2004. The man came to my Robson Street studio and I instantly liked him and I enjoyed taking his photographs. Unlike Carol James, who always sent me a thank you card and a Christmas card I received no thanks from the busy man. It seemed that James was gracious and Layton efficient.
When in 2004, there was a danger that Stephen Harper, of the Federal Conservative Party, could win the election I was in a quandary. In my area of the city the Liberal candidate was Ujjal Dosanjh. The folks who had hired me to photograph the NDP candidates were not happy with the fact that Dosanjh had jumped the NDP ship for the Liberals.
At the time I realized that my vote for the NDP candidate (one I don’t even remember now) would be a wasted vote as the NDP had no chance of forming a government or coming anywhere near a distant third to the Liberals and Conservatives.
On election night I became so scared at the possibility of a Harper victory that I participated in the Tyee election night forum and wrote:
I have photographed both Jack Layton and Ujjal Dosanjh. I respect and admire both men. If I voted with my heart I would vote for my NDP candidate in my riding but I think I must vote with my head and vote Liberal.
That very evening on the CBC’s national coverage of the elections my statement was pasted on the TV screens across the nation.
Shortly after, a few weeks later I was told through an inside source that Layton had personally black-balled me and that I was not to get any work again to photograph any NDP candidate.
My friends all told me that I had been a disingenuous idiot. Fortunately I still photographed many Provincial NDP MLAs, MPs and Carol James herself because they requested I photograph them.
Tonight, Sunday night, as I write this if I were to post something on the Tyee tomorrow I would write:
I have photographed both men, Jack Layton and Ujjal Dosanjh. If I were to vote with my heart I would vote Liberal for Dosanjh. But I must vote with my head (I want my vote to count so Harper will not get a majority) for my riding candidate NDPs Meena Wong.