Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Two Mayors

Was reflecting on the very different experiences of photographing two mayors of Compton for the LA Weekly.
The first cover shoot was of Mayor Omar Bradley back in May of 2001. Set up a photo shoot for inside the Mayor's office at Compton City Hall. He didn't say much to me, just sat down at his desk and crossed his hands in front of him. Seated inside the office were several ministers and friends of the mayor. They were chanting some terse religious verses from the bible, mostly from revelations I think, through out the shoot. Shot about 2 rolls of 120 film, 24 images, and took off. When I processed the film, there was one shot that stood out and it was picked for the cover. The image became very controversial, because it looked as if the Compton city seal had made a set of horns on the mayor's head.
12 years fast forward. I was assigned by the LA Weekly once again to cover the newest mayor of Compton, Aja Brown. We met at a fancy new Starbucks in Compton. We all, Mayor Aja Brown the writer Patrick Range McDonald and myself, sat outside in the afternoon sun under a huge umbrella and sipped coffee drinks. I photographed her between questions from Patrick, and the cover image was picked from that shoot. The umbrella cast a perfect light on Mayor Brown, and the open look of the background was perfect.
Will be interesting to see what is in store for the city of Compton under Mayor Brown's leadership.

Photos by Ted Soqui © 2013
Mayor Aja Brown 2013.

Mayor Omar Bradley 2001