The Presidential Candidates, and Their Supporters, Up Close

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New Jersey governor Chris Christie beginning a weeklong bus tour in the lead-up to elections on November 5, 2013. Christie made stops to speak to supporters at the Ritz Diner in Livingston, downtown Linden, Fair Lawn Senior Center, Nevada Diner in Bloomfield, Chowpatty Restaurant, Flemington, and Hamilton.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux

Mark Peterson traces the arc of this strange, sometimes shameless, presidential election in his new book, Political Theatre. He captured the rallies, the stump speeches, and the debates of the primaries and general election. But he also trained his camera on the forces that would end up shaping this campaign — tea-party rallies, for example — long before anyone had likely uttered the words “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.”

Peterson says he wanted to show the artifice of campaigning. “How superficial or how orchestrated the events really are,” he adds. His goal was to find one detail that summed up each candidate’s essence. Take that first photo above: a close-up of Chris Christie’s mouth.

Peterson says he’ll continue to photograph the race through Election Day and up to the inauguration — though he admits he may have already taken enough photos of Donald Trump. —Jen Kirby

Hillary Clinton at the NYC Labor Day parade in NYC, 9/9/06.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump held a campaign rally in Lowell, Massachusetts, on January 4, 2016.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Bernie Sanders.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
RedState Gathering attendees watch the Republican presidential debate on Fox News, in Atlanta, Georgia, August 6, 2015.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Senator Bernie Sanders at the New Hampshire Young Voters convention in Manchester, New Hampshire.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Connor Carew, student at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hosted an event to raise money for veterans’ organizations at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 28, 2016.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Republican U.S. senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, at the Iowa Ag Summit, hosted by Bruce Rastetter, highlighting and promoting agriculture, in Des Moines, Iowa, March 7, 2015.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Senator Marco Rubio held a campaign rally in Derry, New Hampshire, on February 5, 2016.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Donald Trump campaign rally in Plymouth, New Hampshire, February 7, 2016.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
The Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor MD on March 8, 2014.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux/© Mark Peterson 2014
Second Amendment activists gathered with handguns and rifles in Fort Hunt National Park outside Alexandria, Virginia, on April 19, 2010.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Donald Trump campaign rally in San Jose, California, June 2, 2016.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Donald Trump at the Iowa Freedom Summit, hosted by Citizens United and Congressman Steve King, in Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 2015.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Ben Carson before the CNN Republican debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, September 16, 2015.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Carly Fiorina speaks at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta, Georgia, August 7, 2015.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
A video game for training people how to shoot things at the NRA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, May 21, 2016.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin at the Iowa Freedom Summit, hosted by Citizens United and Congressman Steve King, in Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 2015.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Former governor of Florida Jeb Bush at the Iowa Ag Summit, hosted by Bruce Rastetter, highlighting and promoting agriculture, in Des Moines, Iowa, March 7, 2015.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
Donald and Melania Trump at the Fox Business Republican presidential primary debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in North Charleston, South Carolina, January 14, 2016.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux
A sign on a resturantant in Virginia 2014.Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux

Photos from Political Theatre, published by Steidl.