Howard Dean scream? The art of capturing defining political moments

April 30, 2012 | By Joe Raedle | News

A lesson I learned long ago has followed me on each presidential campaign since — including ‘Election 2012’:  You never know when that defining ‘moment’ will take place.

I could be off taking pictures of people in the crowd or looking for a neat angle outside of a political rally, but when that ‘moment’ happens that defines a candidate, you had better be in place to get it.

That, to me, is what can make political photography fun and super challenging.

Back in 2004, I’d been on the campaign trail with Democratic presidential candidate, Howard Dean, for a while. This was my first time on the trail with a candidate, which meant flying around on the charter planes and attending all of his events.

Howard Dean-Joe Raedle-Getty Images-72350864

Democratic presidential candidate former Vermont Governor Howard Dean addresses supporters at his caucus night party January 19, 2004 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Dean finished third in the Iowa caucus behind U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC). (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Of course, heading into it I looked for advice and had heard plenty about being ready for any impromptu moments that would define a candidate’s campaign – either negative or positive. This one didn’t quite register at the time.

I remember him screaming into the microphone on January 19, 2004 as he was addressing supporters following his third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses in West Des Moines, Iowa. But I was so busy shooting and filing that it wasn’t until a while later that I understood how the Howard Dean scream would become fodder for his opponents and many comedians. His campaign fizzled out soon after this moment.

Editor’s note: After 11 years at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and a stint as a freelancer, Joe Raedle joined Getty Images as a staff photographer in 2000. Based out of Texas, Washington D.C., and now Miami, his assignments vary from documenting outlandish festivities in Louisiana to covering the war in Afghanistan. Joe has frequently embedded with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and covered the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath, as well as two presidential campaigns, natural disasters and, most recently, the Pope’s visit to Cuba. For more election coverage from Getty Images, visit:

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