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Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | Photographers play an interesting role in the political process. As the members of the public with perhaps the most access to candidates, we are the eyes of the voters, forever trying to provide accurate, interesting and insightful accounts of how their campaigns work.

Campaigns, too, understand the power of the photo. They search through newspaper and web archives for both flattering photos of themselves and distasteful depictions of their opponents. I’ve seen mine used both ways this season.

The cameraman is consistently lobbied by spokespeople to join a candidate for a staged photo-op. The routine press conferences that are a staple of the campaign trail provide the photographer with a challenge and a conundrum: How do you find a graphically interesting photo, without buying into the contrived angle and subject matter the campaign tries to railroad the press into.

The answer isn’t always simple, but it oftentimes requires focusing on some of the off-beat, fleeting moments of the campaign when a candidate has let down their guard. It is these moments that provide a bit of reality in a made-for-TV political world, allowing voters to see that the people running for office are humans — fallible, triumphant and awkward.

Here, we offer you some of our favorite shots from the campaign season. Some are more candid than others. Some are more flattering than others. All shed a bit of light into the candidates and their campaigns, and offer a glimpse at some of the more interesting moments of the 2008 primary.

We at voiceofsandiego.org are also proud to use this opportunity to launch our new slideshow feature. The slideshow will accompany many stories in the future. Sometimes photos, of course, can say things that even the best writers will struggle to capture.

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