This week I made my way around Washington, D.C. and asked hundreds of people to pick words to represent how they feel now, at the dawn of a new beginning for the United States. Participants chose from 26 words:

Alive, Angry, Anxious, Awed, Believe, Curious, Dancer, Excited, Grateful, Happy, Hopeful, Human, Humble, Jealous, Joyful, Love, Obama, Patient, Proud, Ready, Scared, Skeptical, Tired, Together, Wonder, Worried

Children tended to choose the words “Love” and “Obama” because they are easy. But happy was a close third. For the other participants, “Hopeful” and “Proud” won the day. People with family or friends chose “Together” to represent the importance of experiencing the inauguration with the ones they love. No one picked the word Angry or Scared, despite my best efforts. Even Rubin Israel, the man holding the sign "Homo Sex is Sin" would only go so far as "Skeptical."

The list is pretty comprehensive, but these are some of the words that people recommended:

Abomination, Indifferent, Justice, Peace, Peaceful, Change, Inspired

Though "Obama" doesn't necessarily seem like a feeling, Al Hillman, of Al's Barbershop on H Street NE, put it best when he said, "You know, I just feel Obama, don't you feel Obama?"

While shooting these portraits I had some serious logistical challenges, mostly that everytime I set up a shot, everyone around me pulled out their cameras. For the big shot of 15 to 20 people standing on a wall at the National Mall, I had to scream, "LOOK AT ME!" to keep my subjects from looking at dozens of other photographers. I managed to get off a couple good shots, but the problem plagued me everywhere.

Of course, I shouldn't say it was a problem because I was really excited to see how people responded so deeply to the project. On lots of occasions cars honked their horns, people screamed, everyone wanted to know where I "bought those signs." I heard a lot of "Yes!" and "You know that's right!"

I made a special trip to visit my sister, Lauren Troutman's, first grade class at Wolfe Street Academy in Fells Point, Baltimore. Unfortunately, I made the silly mistake of sending home permission slips with a small picture of the Barack Obama "Hope" poster. The kids thought that Barack Obama was coming to school for pictures and my sister had to break their hearts! The new President is generally known in her class as, "Rock Obama." Since her students mostly speak English as a second language, I picked 5 easy words for them to choose from. They loved "Love."

Thanks for checking out my video!

(ba)Rock On... Emily

THIS VIDEO IS ALSO ON YOUTUBE: youtube.com/watch?v=BIo-zH5mOw8

Twitter: twitter.com/emilytroutman
Tumblr: emilytroutman.tumblr.com/

Releases on file for all participants. High-res images available for editorial use.

Images shot with Canon 5D.

Music by The Killers, no copyright infringement intended.


Feel free to send me an email at troutman.emily@gmail.com.



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