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Finding stories to tell in your own community 

click to enlarge A soldier bound for Kuwait boards a plane at the Colorado Springs airport. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A soldier bound for Kuwait boards a plane at the Colorado Springs airport.

One thing that always inspires me is the tremendous potential for good, meaningful work to be found in my community.

Finding rich photojournalism assignments in my home town means I have never needed to travel elsewhere.

click to enlarge Soldier's enter the Soldier's Memorial Chapel during a memorial ceremony for victims of 9/11. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Soldier's enter the Soldier's Memorial Chapel during a memorial ceremony for victims of 9/11.

It’s always surprising what I end up tackling — it’s not the sort of photojournalism stories that are typically associated with small town U.S.A. (Actually, the Springs is a small metropolitan area of 465,000.)

One of the stories I stumbled into early on in my career was the "War on Terror."

click to enlarge A soldier stands at attention before a 21-gun salute outside the Soldier's Memorial Chapel during a memorial ceremony. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A soldier stands at attention before a 21-gun salute outside the Soldier's Memorial Chapel during a memorial ceremony.

In the aughts, Fort Carson was home to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team and the 43rd Area Support Group. I was never embedded with these troops in Iraq, but I was able to embed myself when I visited the rear detachment at the base.

I photographed the departure of the soldiers to Iraq, purple heart ceremonies, the arrival of returning solders and the memorial ceremonies for soldiers who died.

click to enlarge A mother holds her son's dog tags outside of the Soldier's Memorial Chapel at Fort Carson Army Post during a memorial ceremony in his honor. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A mother holds her son's dog tags outside of the Soldier's Memorial Chapel at Fort Carson Army Post during a memorial ceremony in his honor.

The memorial ceremonies were held at the Soldier’s Memorial Chapel. It’s especially challenging to photograph the memorial ceremonies because of the restricted access. Still, I was able to make pictures I found meaningful and historical.

click to enlarge Mourners embrace during a memorial ceremony at Soldier's Memorial Chapel at the Fort Carson. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Mourners embrace during a memorial ceremony at Soldier's Memorial Chapel at the Fort Carson.

I eventually found a home for these  pictures. First, they were published in the Independent, as a standalone photo story. Then, together with the Indy, I sponsored an opening reception and gallery exhibit of the work in a local restaurant.

click to enlarge Soldier wait to receive Purple Heart's during an award ceremony at Fort Carson Army Post. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Soldier wait to receive Purple Heart's during an award ceremony at Fort Carson Army Post.

The show was also a fundraiser for The Home Front Cares organization, a nonprofit designed to help families with deployed loved ones. It was a treat to see the work being exhibited, and I was surprised by the support that the exhibit received.

click to enlarge A soldier performs Taps outside of the Soldier's Memorial Chapel at Fort Carson Army Post during a memorial ceremony. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A soldier performs Taps outside of the Soldier's Memorial Chapel at Fort Carson Army Post during a memorial ceremony.

Covering this story was something that I never expected to do in my own home town. To show how a national news story touches lives of residents who live here is a meaningful part of my job.

click to enlarge Soldier's grieve for a lost friend outside the Soldier's Memorial Chapel at the Fort Carson Army Post. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Soldier's grieve for a lost friend outside the Soldier's Memorial Chapel at the Fort Carson Army Post.

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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