Why Pictures of Protest

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This is where I learned.

Pictures like these — of people, place, and protest — are what taught me how to use photography to see, and learn, and share.

These are not the first photos I ever took. They are also not the first attempt I made to learn how to use an SLR — that started in a dark room in high school, and it continued in a semester during journalism college.

But it was years later — with people, place, and protest as a focus of my work — that photography began to make sense to me. By which I mean: the practical logistics of getting the shot and getting it out, the technical aspects of doing it well, and the feeling of being compelled to show up and do it at all.

Pictures of people working together to demand better for each other and the environment — or ‘places’, because ‘environment’ is just a way of saying: the places where we do life, the places everything else that is alive does life, the places upon which all of our survival depends.

And we depend on the environment — made up of all places — because we are part of it, not separate from it.

When you take a picture of protest (be it of a literal protest action, or a contested place) you must simultaneously confront the current conflict, competing visions for the future, and stories of what came before.

And with all of that comes a demand to consider the way we assign value, how we form identity, and why we do what we do in the way that we do it.

At least, that’s how it seems to me.

And so, this selection of photos (that I’ll continue to add to) is of some of the people, places, and protests I’ve photographed over the years.

Kate