Yup. I’ve said it before. Street photography is kinda random – ya’ just never know who or what you’re going to run into on any given day. This past Saturday, I encountered both…
–Who: Two opposing sides of an issue
–What: The protest against the defunding of the LAPD
So…my plan for the day was to shoot a series of images for another project I’ve been putting together. But, that went out the door when I turned onto Spring street on the way to one of my favorite parking spots. The crowd, the noise, the signs..Oh Yeah! Another protest was kicking off in DTLA! Since this was a random encounter, I had no clue what it was about, but I figured it’d be worth at least a few shots.
So, I parked and made my way back to 1st & Spring – the event was happening in front of the police headquarters building. It turns out this wasn’t so much a protest as it was a rally in support of the LAPD. Most of the crowd was there to demonstrate against the “defunding” of the police department. Now, I won’t get into what “defunding” actually means, because, well, I’m not sure. It seems to mean different things to different people/groups. I’ll assume you’ll do your own research to refine your thoughts on what it means and the implications. Then we can talk. Anyway, the rally’s slogan appeared to be “Defend Don’t Defund LAPD!” And, of course, as these things go, a different, somewhat smaller group of Black Lives Matter protestors were there to offer, let’s say…an alternative perspective.
Although it was a peaceful demonstration, each side did its best to out chant and out speech the other. Bullhorns, portable PA systems, and loud voices were the order of the day. When one group would chant “Defend Don’t Defund!”, the other would respond, “Black Lives Matter!” At various times members of each faction would meet in an informal DMZ in the middle ground and energetically debate the merits of their position. Nothing, however, could compete sonically with the soundtrack being played on loop across the street by the BLM supporters – NWA’s “Fuck the Police!”. Yup, you guessed it…that was their slogan/theme song for the day and it was LOUD.
At the end of the day, there was no actual or expected mutual agreement on the defunding of the LAPD by the opposing sides. That’s just the nature of large scale demonstrations. Their purpose is to provide visuals, and a voice to a particular perspective on a particular issue. Listening to, actively discussing, or even acknowledging an alternative viewpoint aren’t usually high on the priority list. Right?
Was this event worth a few shots? Most definitely! The visuals were great, the energy was off the charts, and I learned a bit about a different perspective. (I am trying to be reasonably objective here, after all.) Generally, I think the demonstration was successful in that attention was drawn to the issue, viewpoints were voiced, and no one was physically hurt. A note of discord begins to creep in if I allow myself to think this is just one more clash of seriously opposing opinions that ends in a stalemate; the opinions most came with are the same ones they left with. OK, however true that may be, I also believe that demonstrations like these and (hopefully) the resulting dialogue will act as enablers for the lasting social change called for since the George Floyd killing and America’s awakening. OK…maybe not so objective.
So, please, check out the images. I hope at the very least, they’re interesting, at best, thought provoking. Feel free to drop a line in the comments to let me know what you think. And Please…Stay Positive, Work for Change & Stay Safe!
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- Leica M10
- Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 Nokton Aspherical
- Fuji X-Pro 3
- Fuji 16mm f2.8 WR
- Fuji X100 V
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