Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let the Games Begin

JD Hayworth, former TV sports anchor, former Republican Congressman from the Phoenix suburbs and former right wing radio talk show host, is hoping to become a current US Senator. He’s thrown his hat into the ring in the Republican primary against long serving US Senator John McCain, who has represented Arizona in Washington since 1982. 
McCain has a reputation for being a “maverick” who occasionally reaches across the aisle to Democrats. He sponsored climate change legislation with Joe Lieberman (back when Lieberman was still a Democrat) and immigration reform legislation with the late Ted Kennedy. McCain, a former Prisoner of War and victim of torture, has spoken out against torture.  
Hayworth, on the other hand, is a take no prisoners hard core conservative who thinks compromise is a weakness, climate change a myth, deporting undocumented immigrants is the answer to the immigration issue and has no problems torturing people captured on the field of battle. He casts himself in the Ronald Reagan mold of conservatism and invokes Reagan’s name during his campaign appearances. Hayworth is very popular with the Tea Party movement and has appeared at several of their events.  
The two men intensely dislike each other. McCain is quick to bring up the fact that Hayworth, the hard core right wing conservative (who some call “Foghorn Leghorn”), lost his seat in Congress to a moderate Democrat. Hayworth spent the last year using his radio stint on KFYI blasting McCain. I think the race between the two professional politicians could be the most interesting primary battle in the country this year. The winner will, almost certainly, win in November in reliably Republican Arizona. 
There are more photos of both Hayworth and McCain in my PhotoShelter archive and available from ZUMA Press

JD Hayworth Campaign - Images by Jack Kurtz

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy New Year!

Today marks the first day of the Lunar New Year or, as it’s commonly known, Chinese New Year. Phoenix has a pretty small Chinese community compared to other similar sized cities in the US, but there’s still a great Chinese New Year Celebration at the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center in central Phoenix. 
There’s usually at least one surreal moment at Chinese New Year in Phoenix. Last year it was a group of women dancing to the pop song “Lollipop.” This year it was a woman singing a very operatic version of “Edelweiss” from the “Sound of Music.” 
There are more photos from Chinese New Year in Phoenix in my PhotoShelter archive. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

f8 and Be There

James Arthur Ray is led back to his cell after his initial appearance on manslaughter charges in Yavapai County Court in Camp Verde, AZ, Thursday. 
f8 and be there” is an old saying in photojournalism. It basically means showing up is the most important part of an assignment. I’ve never really liked it because I think it demeans the profession. In this case, though, it’s certainly appropriate because getting “there,” theYavapai County court in Camp Verde, was the hardest part of the assignment. I was first sent to Prescott, the Yavapai county seat, because the reporters on the city desk gave the wrong information to the photo desk. In Prescott, I discovered the assignment was actually in Camp Verde, so I raced over the back roads of Yavapai county to get to the assignment on time. 
The assignment itself was not that complicated. James Arthur Ray, the controversial self help guru, had been arrested in Prescott on Wednesday, Feb 3 on manslaughter charges related to the deaths of three people at a sweat lodge ceremony Ray held in Sedona, AZ, in October 2009. My assignment was to photograph him at his initial appearance. 
The case has captured the attention of the national media because it involves the wealthy (Ray charged participants more than $8,000 for the weekend), the gruesome nature of the deaths (in a dark, steam enveloped crowded tent with people throwing up and passing out) and “borrowed” Native American traditions. Holding the event in Sedona, home to power vortices and mystical crystals was just icing on the cake.
Initial appearances are not usually a big deal. But this one was, so I ended up in Camp Verde photographing the self help guru through a hole in a chain link fence. Once I got to Camp Verde it really was f8 and be there.