Iconic Photos

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Jimmy Carter gets Democratic Nomination

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In addition to being a very successful farmer and agri-businessman in Georgia, Jimmy Carter was trained in nuclear physics and served as an officer in the Navy’s nuclear submarine program. However, Carter campaigned in 1976 as a “Washington Outsider”, someone different from the Washington power brokers and he also was not shy about broadcasting that he was a “born again Christian”.

At the Democratic National Convention in New York, he was headed for the final runoff with Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona and Governor Jerry Brown of California. Hundreds of newsmen worked around the clock for the historic convention, and Dirck Halstead, Time magazine’s Washington Bureau photographer, was there too. Halstead, who covered political conventions since 1960, decided to work for one picture only–the ultimate picture when yet-to-be-unveiled presidential and vice-presidential nominees stood on the podium.

The main problem was the 30-foot height of the podium–Halstead had to settle for a position on a cameramen’s platform 500 feet away. Time magazine sent their new super-telephoto lens, but Halstead had to use the extremely slow shutter speed to properly expose the film with the existing light. There was the vibration problem for the platform too–Halstead had to ask the other photographers to remain as motionless as possible when the time came to snap the iconic image.

Carter won the nomination on the first ballot and selected Walter Mondale as his running mate. As the convention ended, the man the public once gave little chance to win the presidency had become a well-known national figure, who would go on to win the election. The cover of the July 26, 1976 issue of Time magazine features Halstead’s slightly blurry photo of Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, daughter Amy, as well as Walter Mondale and his wife, Joan, beaming with pride.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

September 22, 2009 at 11:41 am

2 Responses

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