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Behind the Photo: Catching Ryan’s Family in Media Mayhem

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., announced in a news conference on Oct. 20 that not sacrificing family time was part of requirement to seek the candidacy for the position. When it was clear he was going to be the 54th speaker, I knew I wanted a shot of him and his family when they were on the Hill for the ceremony.  

During the event on the House floor his wife and three children were recognized at their seats in the gallery.  

Paul Ryan Speaker
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s a good shot that included Mitt and Ann Romney, but most of the 20 or so photographers in the chamber had some variation of that scene. The chances that I would have the best angle on the photo were slim.  

After Ryan exited, I was hanging around the outside the chamber trying to figure out what route he would take to a reception in the Capitol Visitor Center. CQ Roll Call reporter Jonathan Miller told me he was in the speaker’s ceremonial room off the floor with Romney. I could see Ryan, but photography isn’t allowed in that hallway so I kept my cameras down.  

There were multiple elevators he could take to the basement and as I was debating what to do, his entourage came out of the room and headed to one a few feet away. I had to go on foot, so I raced down two flights and got in position around the same time they arrived.  

It’s a narrow hallway and they had security walking in front of them running interference so I had get closer or the whole plan was going to fail. I saw Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., coming from the other direction and stood near him knowing he would probably greet the Ryan family. Security passed and I was able to get inside their “buffer,” which gave me an unobstructed view.  


Paul Ryan Speaker
Kline hugs Janna Ryan, wife of Paul D. Ryan, in the basement of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)


They walked to a hall in the CVC that opens up with a skylight. I had a few seconds to change my exposure from the darker hall to the abundant natural light, get some distance from the group, and make a frame of the speaker and his kids (from left, below) Sam, Charlie and Liza.  


Paul Ryan Speaker
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)


My favorite picture of the day is actually Ryan greeting civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., surrounded by Democrats just before being sworn in.  


Paul Ryan Speaker
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)


But I also like the two from the hallway because it gives a glimpse of the family that supports the new speaker.  



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