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Camera helps make her patriotic point page 2
Stafford photographer encourages young people to be part of the political process with her "Get Out and Vote" project

 Sisters Kristen and Linnea Musselman arm wrestle over their differing political views.
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Date published: 11/5/2012


Daniels took senior photos of Pinkston, who graduated in June from Mountain View High School and is studying to be a medic. The photographer also asked each model to make a sign saying why he or she votes, and Pinkston painted hers on a piece of yellow fire hose.

She's a member of the Rockhill Volunteer Fire Department. Her sign read: "I vote because I finally can."

Other subjects--and there were 15 from across Virginia--wrote that they wanted their voices to be heard or because their forefathers died for this right.

Evan Elsmo, a Brooke Point High School graduate who is joining the Army, said: "I vote because it is my duty as a citizen."


Daniels didn't just put the students against a neutral background and take a few photos. She took them to locations throughout Stafford and Fredericksburg, created their outfits--including a Statue of Liberty crown from vintage lace--and did their hair and makeup.

Daniels painted the face of her neighbor, Emily Christensen, to look like an American flag and glued silver stars from her forehead to her nose. Daniels made a patriotic dress for Christensen out of an old tablecloth.

Sisters Kristen and Linnea Musselman live in Ashburn and attend the University of Virginia. Daniels posed them arm wrestling because the two have vastly different political beliefs.

On the computer, she added a donkey tattoo to Linnea's cheek and an elephant to Kristen's. Daniels also toned down the vibrant colors of the flag in the background to give it an older, yellowish tone and added other overlays.

Daniels made the image of Elsmo look like a poster, with his face and "Made in the USA" shirt almost popping out of an unfurling, stylized American flag.

Daniels sometimes spends up to 12 hours editing and doing Photoshop work after a shoot. A lot of her techniques are trial and error, and if she isn't sure how to achieve a desired effect, she Googles it.

She sticks with available light and resists using flash. Some professional photographers might gasp at this revelation, but she doesn't use a light meter.

"I do it all by sight," she said. "If it looks good, it looks good."


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