Behind the Scenes: How We Made Our Election Cover

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This election has been crazy. In creating a cover for Jim Schutze's feature, we wanted to convey that in the end we are all losers for having been witness to it. What better way to exemplify that feeling than a trash can fire? Photographer Ed Steele took on the challenge of making this happen.

Ed recruited a retired fireman who served with Denton FD for 37 years, a volunteer fireman from Krum and a third volunteer to assist with the shoot. Since we'd have to shoot the fire outside, Ed requested we shoot early in the morning to best control the lighting. Ed rigged a setup that placed the waste basket on reflective tile flooring with a white backdrop.
As a reliable fire starter, we used gel lighter fluid. We burnt through multiple metal mesh waste baskets and plenty of political posters, buttons and stickers from both the Trump and Clinton campaigns. Ed photographed two waste basket variations. In the end, the cover image was an amalgamation of the shoots to create a well-rounded composition.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.