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Cayton: Politics lends itself to storytelling pictures


  • Sean Cayton
On April 16, I photographed the swearing-in ceremony for Mayor John Suthers and three at-large City Council members.

With politics comes pageantry and such was the case with the ceremony at the Pioneers Museum.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department hung a huge American flag in front of the museum. There were performances by the Colorado Springs Conservatory, prayers by local pastors, and plenty of VIPs in attendance as well. Representatives from the police and fire department, county commissioners and commanders of the armed services also were among the crowd.

Whenever I photograph events like this one, I always like to show up early. Being early allows me to roam around and take interesting pictures before the event starts. Once it’s started, there’s very little that isn’t choreographed, but I've found some of the best pictures often happen afterwards, too. Because of this, the beginning and the end is where I like to focus most of my attention.

For example, when I arrived at Tuesday's ceremony I found a lovely tree blossoming in front of the museum and some of the members of the conservatory standing out front. This first image set the stage for me. I walked around to photograph little moments of people in attendance. I caught a local TV personality visiting with firemen, and got a close shot of one of the performers practicing before the event. I was also able to drop in on the press gaggle inside the museum, where the mayor and city council members were doing TV interviews.

During the reception inside the museum, I photographed Mayor Suthers and his wife with the Bible he used for his swearing ceremony. It was gift from his parents and he spoke eloquently about it during his speech. 
Images like these support the narrative of political events, and I wish there were news outlets here that did more of this. Insightful storytelling, rather than canned photo-ops, lends itself to connection. And pictures like these show us how things went down.

All in all, the ceremony was a super fun shoot and offered me another opportunity to hone my craft in a different setting — one that didn’t involve a bride and groom.

Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He's also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.

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