For President

By Ezra Carlsen

I made this picture in April, during the early days of the pandemic and during the exaggerated pantomime of the Democratic presidential primary. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg had entered the race and subsequently flamed out in March. When I saw this sign along Highway 14 near Vancouver, Washington, the more conservative northern neighbor of Portland, Oregon, I pulled off the highway and walked back up the exit along a culvert. I’m a writer as well as a photographer, and am always interested in photos in which text is part of the composition. Here, the name of the billionaire tycoon aspiring to be president has been effaced, leaving a blank spot above, highlighting not just the irony of a three-month-long campaign in which the candidate spent $188 million only to be erased from the landscape, but also the absurdity of the political process as a whole.