Photographing protests allows you to capture people, sometimes at their best and sometimes at their worst and the Invasion Day (Australia Day) rally I recently photographed was something different. It stood out from both protests last year as both had feelings of anger and frustration, this year had the feeling of the opposite as it was filled with cultural dancing in the streets and generally, people from all walks of life getting together to protest against something they believe needs to be changed and doing it with a smile.
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2020 has influenced the way many of us photograph our chosen subjects, with COVID safe plans in place to being watched, and some, fined by the police to being locked down and not leaving the house to pursue our passion for photography. To that end, I have been forced to take a ‘what’s happening in my city?’ and a ‘am I allowed out?’ approach to photography.
The came these bombshell comment from a colleague, ‘Your photos are very political!’ only to be further echoed by other colleagues leaving me scrambling to justify my choice of subjects. I noted as they scrolled through my Instagram feed none of them mentioned or commented on composition, cropping or even the editing technique etc. but rather commented on the theme behind each image.
I like to think that I’m the same as everyone else who enjoys photography, we are all, in our own way trying to tell a story with each and every single photograph and politics or a political theme is something I have gone out of my way to avoid by putting my efforts into capturing the emotions of people attending and the emotion around the event.
These comments stuck with me for quite sometime only to realise that you may inadvertently capture the politics surrounding the event whilst trying to capture peoples emotions.
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Moving through the crowd at a BLM rally I spotted this young lady and asked if I could take her photo, she turned and directly engaged the camera by looking down the barrel, I pressed the shutter, thanked her and walked away. Something I now regret.
These regrets could have been avoided for a couple of reasons
Didn’t spend enough time with her to have her pose properly but its still worked out
Didn’t ask her name or email address so a print or digital file could be sent to her.
Realized that this is one of those photos you keep going back to over time.
I also learnt I need to slow down photographing protests, this is not easy as most are pretty fluid, filled withe emotion and can turn violent in the blink of an eye, however there is also a fear of not capturing the event in its entirety.
Until next time, happy shooting.
Please note: due to limited space on WP, a full-size version is available at Flickr which can be seen by clicking on the photo. Flickr presents the photo better
Over 500 photos were taken during the BLM protest and now I am wondering what to do with them all. Sure the blurry, poorly exposed and badly composed images can be deleted but once the cull has happened there will still be around 300 images that need to be edited, but then what. What do you do with so many images?
They can’t all be posted on social media or here because people switch off and loose interest.
Some will be printed and hung on the wall above my desk to stare at when I’m struggling to think of the right word or ideas for a blog post. Maybe the best photos should be collated into a coffee table book to be thumbed through by visitors.
What do you do with all of your photos, Do they sit on a hard drive or do you print your best work to show to either family and friends or enter into competitions? Would love to know what you do, because I’ve run out of ideas.
Until next time happy shooting.
Please Note: Full size image can be viewed by clicking on the image. You will be take Flickr to where the image is stored. This has been done to save space here on WordPress and Flickr presents the image a lot better.
Whilst film photography is not my main method creating images but rather I find that helps to remain creative whilst reminding you to be cognizant of how many shots you can take. There is no snapping away unless you have a healthy budget to buy and develop film.
Nikon F75, FP4 Ilford, ISO 125, F8, 35mm B&W film
This gentleman is a lovely bloke and was really easy to chat to, which only made it easier to ask permission to take his photo.
Hope everyone has a great Sunday, until next time…..