Phillip Chalk, art director at The Weekly Standard called me and asked me if I could shoot an editorial portrait of the Alt-Right artist Sabo, famous for his clever guerrilla street art mocking or poking fun at prominent political figures perceived to be on the left of the political spectrum.
He needed cover a photograph on his desk within five hours of the phone call and there was no budget for an assistant; sigh,…… So I rushed out of the house with all my lights knowing I probably would not have enough time to do a full editorial production, but I have been wrong before.
An interesting part of this story is that when I tell it to some of my friends some of them raise their eyebrows and ask me “Why did you agree to photograph him?” I say why not? The only difference between making pictures of Sabo and everyone else is that he wears his politics on his shirt sleeve; everyone else hides it in a professional manner.
Sabo is part of the Proud Boys Organization which is considered by many a far-right men’s club that has frequented racist rallies in the past. His clever and iconoclastic art makes fun of prominent political figures on left mainly, although I see an interesting poster he designed about Trump.
As an editorial photographer , I found Sabo to be like myself in some ways; an iconoclast who is an open book which is not what I expected. He was also very helpful and make my job easier by pulling out his own LED lights which we used in the shoot. Just as surprising, was that he believed that we should house the homeless. He was an interesting enigma to me and really interesting to talk to. In many ways an ideal photography assignment the reminded me of my days working for the New York Times or the Orange County Register.
Most of what we talked about was art, photography, our mutual experiences and some of our beliefs. I did not press him on his political beliefs since I was there to create an image and did not want to alienate my subject. So on that level, I found Sabo a likable guy.
I enjoyed my experience photographing Sabo because, unlike most of my corporate photography assignments, my subject seemed as interested in me as I was about him. The Weekly Standard told me he is Latino which intrigued me even more. In the end, I think we make some great pictures; one of which made the cover of the Weekly Standard.
Editorial Portrait of Alt-Right artist Sabo shot for The Weekly Standard