Election 2015 - The Supporting Cast
I was lucky to be commissioned to follow two of the party leaders wives for a day during the UK election buildup. Justine Thornton - Ed Miliband, the Labour leaders wife and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez - Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leaders wife.
Both are successful and powerful lawyers and both had put their jobs, opinions and identity on hold for the election in order to support their husbands - smile and wave and get dissected by the media for the way they dress and look.
First up was Justine Thornton campaigning in Brighton and Battersea. The press had just dug up that, shock horror, her husband had had girlfriends before they met and that he had sex with them - personal life is public life during election time. She met the 3 local candidates and supported them. posed for photos, recounted 'safe' stories about Ed and family life and had to answer political policy questions that she never signed up for. All this while labour PR's were checking backgrounds, shielding her from questions and gently ushering her to safety.
Next was Miriam Gonzalez Durante who was campaigning in Cardiff. Again the Lib Dem Minders where out in force, mostly blocking and negotiating any scenario that might yield an off message photo.
The Election circus really is the best show in town, rolling into marginal constituencies across the country, setting up photocalls and meeting with the (selected) voting public and then once everyone feels warm and fuzzy disappearing for another 5 years - a serial one night stand - the illusion of proximity to power and the individuals influence on it.
Now, post election, of course all this has changed. Both the leaders have resigned and will return to lower profile political life, both wives will return to their jobs and all the momentary celebrity and interest in them will stop.
A dramatic end to a peak moment in their lives. Maybe I should go and photograph them again now...