October 30, 2021

Hindsight 2020: The photographer

By: Mykayla Capeles

Sean Rayford is a Columbia, South Carolina-based photojournalist who's a regular contributor to national media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Associated Press and Getty Images. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Rayford had to change his mindset on what to create. He went to an art supply store and got an easel and new paint brushes. He thought he was going to spend his new time becoming a painter. After coloring the background of a canvas a solid color, he decided enough was enough. Rayford decided to pack up his gear and hit the streets to interview people about the pandemic and focus of portraits. 

“When restaurants reopened, I became really popular. I had, like, five days of different national media outlets needing coverage. I had assignments like going to the mall” Rayford said. “Being able to go to the mall was now newsworthy.”

Through the pandemic, Rayford had great opportunities. He was able to work for Getty Images by going down to Myrtle Beach every summer holiday - Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekend by covering what beach towns were looking like during the pandemic. 

Now that Rayford is vaccinated, he can be more relaxed and more comfortable taking photos. He is ready to have close conversations and close photos again. 

Read the full story, written by Craig Brandhorst, on the university website. 

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