As a photographer living in the D.C. metro area, the one thing you can always count on are protests. Whatever the reason is, people will do it. Rain or shine, night or day, whether it’s 20 people, 20,000, or more. I shot my first protest back in 1987 with my trusty Olympus OM-1 (which I still have) that I bought back in ’79. It was a Klan rally that turned out to be seven Klansmen Vs. several thousand anti-Klan protesters. Mix the mid-summer heat with police in full riot gear, throw in some angry anti- Klan protesters with faces half covered in black bandannas and a few religious fanatics wielding signs of the apocalypse, and you have a true vision of hell on earth. Be that as it may, I learned a lot from this and at least try to shoot a few protests when I have the time (which is rare). In 2010, I had the privilege to shoot three, two of which are featured in this post.
The first was an Immigration rally and the second was a rally for the health care bill which was passed in an emergency session that day while I was there. The Immigration rally had almost all supporters with about 10-15,000 people, and the health care rally had supporters and protesters with about two or three hundred people. As a person who was born and bred in this country, it can be easy to forget that despite the stress of maintaining employment or a pleasurable lifestyle, we still have the right to gather and protest in our nation’s capitol without being shot or beaten. The truth is that there are people here and in other free countries who do not vote due to the fact that they feel that doing so is pointless. Whether this is true or not, there are many people out there who not only vote, but are willing give up their free time to rally and remind the government that it’s actions right or wrong can effect the lives of very people they serve. And they do this knowing the fact that their protests usually falls on deaf ears. It is nice to know that no matter what side of the fence you stand on, these people in this series of photos are willing to speak for you even when you can’t or won’t.
Tech:Canon 40D, Ef 70-200mm L 4 Is