Photography superstar tabbed as SIPA 2017 Friday keynote


An award-winning photographer will be at SIPA this year. The Southern Interscholastic Press Association (SIPA) announced today Sean Rayford will be Friday night’s keynote speaker.

Rayford, one of the best photographers in South Carolina, has had his work featured in the New York Times, The State Newspaper and freelances for wire services like Getty Images and the Associated Press.

He’s been in the thick of the news in the Carolinas over the past two years covering the Emanuel Nine shooting, the 2015 historic flooding, Hurricane Matthew, the election and the riots in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He also takes photos of South Carolina athletics, shooting football and soccer. He has a book called Great to Be a Gamecock that has photos from South Carolina’s 2013 season.

A journalism rock star, Rayford has won multiple awards from the South Carolina Press Association. In 2012 he won the SCPA Best Portrait Photograph for the Alt-Weekly Division in 2012. Most recently he was named one of TIME’s 51 Instagram users from 2016 to follow.

All is quiet in #charlottenc

A photo posted by Sean Rayford (@seanrayford) on

Delving into Columbia’s vibrant music scene, he experiments with portraits of musicians at local venues like New Brooklyn Tavern. He is a photojournalist and a storyteller experienced in explaining a narrative in more than one photo, angle and medium.

Rayford will provide an exciting, fresh look at new media since he’s primarily a freelance photographer. He will also bring an expert opinion to SIPA about how to cover sensitive subjects. This will give SIPA attendees the ability to learn from a phenomenal talent in South Carolina media.

“In my work as director I have been trying to diversify our content, be more inclusive in our media coverage and focus on topical coverage important to the students, to enrich their education as journalists and as global citizens,” Director of Scholastic Media Leslie Dennis said. “Sean’s work as a photojournalist fits beautifully into this mission. His work covering the South Carolina flooding, the Mother Emanuel shooting and the Black Lives Matter movements in Columbia and Charlotte display community journalism students relate to and want to learn from and about.”

SIPA will be held March 3-5, 2017 at the Downtown Marriott in Columbia, South Carolina. It will start Friday night, opening with Rayford’s keynote address.