A few weeks before the election I visited and photographed two Swiss-born American citizens who were voting for opposing candidates Clinton and Trump. The images were part of a 5-person series profiling Swiss-American expats of various political leanings for Switzerland’s Migros Magazine. My first subject was Isabelle Meyer, 64, a resident of Glendale, Calif., collector of globes and an avid Clinton supporter. We didn’t speak about politics for much of our visit, but both of us were fairly confident that things would work out for team Blue. And we know how that ended. My second subject was Tony Luisoni, a 79-year-old resident of Granada Hills, Calif., structural engineer and Trump supporter. This might surprise those of you not living in a “liberal bubble” as I do, but Luisoni was the first open Trump supporter I had ever met. Sounds crazy I know. But when you live in an extremely diverse city a candidate who inspires racism, xenophobia and misogynism is kind of a deal breaker for most of us, regardless of your political opinions otherwise. So, I was very curious what our interaction was going to be like. Working as a journalist, I would never try to argue politics with a subject. But I wasn’t looking forward to nodding along as I listened to someone inform me of the merits of a Trump presidency, which despite my feelings, would be the only way to handle the situation as a professional. Fortunately, I didn’t have to. Dispelling the notion that all Trump supporters are angry white people, he never brought up politics once and was very accommodating throughout the shoot, allowing me to create a nice portrait of him in his living room.
Normally I don’t discuss politics here or outside of my circle of friends and family, and never as a professional. Had a Republican other than Trump won the election, I would likely say nothing here. But I feel that this situation falls outside of mere political opinion and cannot express strongly enough my opposition to what has happened. It’s truly a catastrophe that someone was able to make it to the office of the presidency on a platform based in large part on hateful rhetoric and white nationalism. It speaks poorly of us as a people and is a national embarrassment. Fortunately, I can see that while Trump has won the election, the majority of us are still strongly opposed to him and his ideas. So I am hopeful that although his supporters are laughing, the last laugh will belong to those who believe in equal rights and justice for all.