Photographing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade 

  • © Sean Cayton / All Rights Reserved
In a class I took with Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist Stan Grossfeld, he told the story of photographing a parade in Boston.

Grossfeld had brought a friend with him, gave him a camera with a large lens and asked him to walk around during the parade and get people’s attention. As the parade-goers focused on his friend, he took pictures without being noticed.

That was the challenge a gave myself when I photographed this year's St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Colorado Springs. I wanted to make pictures of people at the parade without them being aware of the camera.

Photographing parades and other large gatherings of people has a long tradition and is a time-honored part of street photography, a genre that anyone with a camera may be familiar with.

One of my favorite photographers, Martin Parr, makes wonderfully eclectic pictures at events like these. The images he makes aren’t always meant to be taken literally. Rather, they can be whimsical, funny and sometimes serve as biting commentary.

There were a lot of photographers at this year’s parade. Some wore brightly colored vests and carried around big cameras. Like Grossfeld’s friend they stood right in the middle of things where everyone could see them. Those photographers gave me the cover I needed to make my pictures.

My intention in photographing the parade was to provide another perspective, one like Parr’s that offered a different viewpoint.

I showed up early and with smaller cameras over my shoulder took my time walking from one end of the event to the other, making pictures as I found them along the way.

My view of this years St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a little whimsical, a bit historical and certainly a refreshing change from all of the other standard parade photographs you might see.

Check it out!

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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