The 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith dinner

The 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith dinner was an historic opportunity for both presidential candidates to relax, have fun, and poke fun of themselves, each other, and to a large degree, Bill Clinton. It was likely the the last time the candidates will publicly meet before the election, and I was honored to be chosen as the official photographer. The event raised more than $4 million for Catholic charities. I got more photos of Obama for the simple reason that he arrived earlier, but everyone seemed in surprisingly good spirits after a long, exhausting campaign. Here is just a small sample of the evening’s events:

Among the luminaries was former Secretary of State Henry Kissenger

Senator Barack Obama meets New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “How’s your dad?” He asked.

Senator John McCain greets a supporter.

Obama shakes hands with a supporter, wearing the bracelet that was a major subject of the first presidential debate.

Obama shares words with New York Governor David Paterson.

Obama speaks with Senator Charles Schumer.

Obama and McCain speak to the Rev. Cardinal Egan. At left are Cindy McCain and Geraldine Ferraro.

Soprano Renee Fleming sings Ave Maria

John McCain had perhaps the funniest moment of the night at the end of his speech, where he set up unrealistically high expectations for Obama. “It will be the funniest 15 minutes of your life … if not, it will bring shame on this event and its hosts.”

McCain’s campaign photographer takes a cell phone shot as he speaks.

Obama addresses the crowd. “I have the politics of Alfred E. Smith and the ears of Alfred E. Neumann”

Stage Left
McCains’ handler gestures as John and Cindy McCain exit, stage left.

Senator Hillary Clinton greets supporters.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg sports a flag pin and a NYC pin.

Comedian Mo Rocca and broadcast journalist Katie Couric smile after the event. Rocca joked that he is making this his Christmas card.

Kevin - Great shots, all of them. They made a great choice for photographer.

twoeightnine - Incredibly great work Ryan. Not a single photo isn’t stunning. The Obama/flag photo is dying to be a wallpaper.

roentarre - Your images have such a clarity to them all. Clean and great expression. The composition with beautiful bokeh surrounding these subjects are just beautiful.

Kevin Lau - Incredible shots! Each of them tells a story of its own.

(jennifer) - Phenomenal work.
LOVE the Mo Rocca image.

David Gartner - Wow. This really captures the small details and personality of the event.

Ryan Brenizer — New York City Wedding Photographer : Some of my favorite celebrity photos - […] In fact, I do all sorts of rewarding work for charities and non-profits, and I get to run across all sorts of interesting people. I tried to compile a set of photos of the celebrities I’ve shot, but to my surprised delight, it was WAY too large. But here are some of my favorites. I never had any particular interest for celebrity portraiture (let the scores of photographers who care fight it out), but these are generally people lending their time to a good cause. So here are some shots, mostly photos you haven’t seen before, and why I like them. There are others to be found on the blog, most notably in this set of the Al Smith Dinner with McCain and Obama. […]