2007 Navajo Nation Inaugural

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. gives his inauguration speech after being sworn in for his second term of office.

President Joe Shirley Jr. places his hand on the Bible while his wife, Vikki, holds it and he takes his oath of office in Window Rock, Ariz.

The inaugural drew a fairly large crowd. Although not really important to the players and the story, I wanted to make an image showing what it was like to be there, and that it was not only a few dozen people standing on the platform.

I had originally scoped out a spot to the east of the crowd where a couple of video people had a platform that they were filming from. As I was waiting for things to start happening I noticed that another photographer I have come to know and respect, Kenji Kawano, was seated on the main platform at the feet of the council delegates. I located the president's press officer and asked him about access to that area and he told me that this was a big event, and it needed covering, so I should go anywhere I needed to go to get the photos.

The result of moving up that close was that I was limited in how I shot the delegates taking their oaths of office, but I would soon realize that had I not moved to the platform I would have been skunked during the president's oath. As he raised his hand to be sworn in there were suddenly people everywhere crowding in on me. I had little kids with point-&-shoot and even disposable cameras running around in front of me. All types of people were elbowing their way to the area in front of the podium, and I had to use my size to keep a spot. Then I glanced over my shoulder and realized that the video people back on the platform I had first planned to be on were not able to see anything because so many people were in the way. So much for access and crowd control.
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