US Election: Turning the camera on kids in the crowd

October 19, 2012 | By Justin Sullivan | Behind The Lens, News, Photography, Photojournalism

Over the past decade I have covered several campaigns. At just about every campaign event, whether it is for a small town mayoral candidate or someone running for president, you are likely to see kids. Sometimes the kids make the best photos at campaign events, since they often take on the excitement of the crowd. I’ve seen kids with campaign stickers all over their bodies, face paint with candidates’ names and wearing homemade shirts in support of a politician.

While covering Mitt Romney at a pancake breakfast in New Hampshire, I made a fun picture of two young boys who were watching Gov. Romney speak to a small crowd.

Still early on in the campaign, the event was rather small and didn’t have the big stage and lights that usually come later in the campaign when a candidate begins to raise more money. Romney stood on a small homemade stage with his name on it and, because he didn’t have a security detail, people were able to stand just a few feet away.

I noticed two boys watching Romney speak from the edge of the makeshift stage. It seemed like they were a little bored with what the candidate had to say and at one point it appeared that they were a little skeptical. Their body language and the looks on their faces as they peered up at Romney could suggest that they were either bored or genuinely interested in what was being said. I think the photo offered a different perspective of how children view campaign events.


Two children look on as former Massachusetts governor and Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney speaks to supporters during a Labor Day pancake breakfast on September 5, 2011 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Romney hosted a pancake breakfast for hundreds of supporters. New Hampshire will hold the nation’s first presidential primary in early 2012. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Justin Sullivan was born in Los Angeles and studied to be a paramedic before deciding to pursue photojournalism in 1994. A self-taught photographer, Justin worked as a freelancer for local San Francisco newspapers before getting hired to work on staff at the San Francisco Examiner in 2000, then later at the San Francisco Chronicle that same year.  Justin later returned to freelance, shooting primarily for the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty Images and numerous newspapers across the country until he joined Getty Images as a staff photographer in February 2003. In the coming years, he would cover a wide range of events from the World Series to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, the 2004 and 2008 election campaign and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Justin’s award-winning work has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world. For more election coverage from Getty Images, visit:

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