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This Man's Pictures Have Defined The General Election Campaign

The photographer who has provided the campaign's defining images – including an isolated Nigel Farage and a head-desking schoolgirl – tells BuzzFeed News his favourites.

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Stefan Rousseau is the Press Association's chief political photographer. And it's his pictures that have been the defining images of the general election.

Rousseau, who has been covering covering politics full-time since 2001, told BuzzFeed News that he's achieved this despite struggling to get access to events on a stage-managed campaign.

"I've covered five general elections, and this is the worst one for control and access," he said, adding that party press officers are controlling access to politicians more than ever before: "We want to be able to wander around and look for pictures and they're making it very difficult for us to do that."

He talked BuzzFeed News through his five favourite photographs of the election so far:

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1. David Cameron and a schoolgirl who just couldn't cope.

Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire / Press Association Images

"I saw it happen, took the picture and when I was editing it I thought it was OK," said Rousseau. "I didn't think it would have the impact it would it. But these days the first indication is Twitter and I quickly realised that it was a moment.

"We're totally impartial and I didn't say she was bored or banging her head; we let other people make the decisions."

2. Ed Miliband looking ominous at the Labour manifesto launch.

Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire / Press Association Images

"I quite like this one. It’s right down the middle, holding his manifesto. They said [Ed would] be holding it at the end, which is a shot you want. I just anticipated it and got myself in the middle and luckily he stood right in front of me."

3. David Cameron feeding a lamb.

Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire / Press Association Images

"The farm is right next door to his house in Oxfordshire, he goes there quite a lot with his kids. He starting feeding it straight away and he knew exactly what to do – but again there was no spontaneity there, we [photographers] were there well in advance.

"There was a wider picture where I shot him with legs out crossed with a lamb in his arms. The whole juxtaposition was of the prime minister sitting on the floor of a barn feeding a lamb."

4. Nigel Farage being left on his own after the final leaders' debate.

Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire/Press Association Images

"The BBC had arranged [the leaders] in a horseshoe for camera angles on TV. It was very hard to shoot them with all the faces in them, and after 90 minutes I couldn’t make the picture happen. Towards the end I thought I’d just get into position for reactions and handshakes.

"As soon as Dimbleby said ‘Thank you very much’, they all hugged each other and walked towards Miliband. It was almost as if Farage was expecting it. I just pulled out wide on my lens and did him standing there on his own. They did all shake hands in the end but this wasn’t just something I caught – it was clearly obvious that they had all turned to their right and walked away from Farage."

5. Samantha Cameron looking on as her husband kisses the Northern Ireland secretary.

Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire / Press Association Images

"He’s coming down the steps of the aircraft to meet Theresa Villiers, kissing her," Rousseau explained. "And you’ve got Sam Cam coming down the stairs looking at him with another woman.

"I’m sure no one thought that at the time, but…"

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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