Wednesday, May 14, 2008

photos: May Day Immigrant Rights Rally

It's been a little while — over two weeks to be exact — but I'm finally posting my May Day Immigrant Rights Rally photos. The rally was an incredible experience... though I'd been to one similar back in 2006 in Wenatchee, this blew that out of the water in every way. Though I haven't heard official numbers, there were definitely thousands upon thousands of people, legal and illegal, black, white, brown and other, all marching for peace and equality. That made me pretty happy. It was the first time I'd ever done anything like it, and I hope it won't be the last. What I do need to improve on, however, is my storytelling ability through photos; for instance, I wish I'd had a chance to talk with the man in the first photo. It all comes back to the idea that "everyone has a story," and the goal of photojournalism is to help tell it. A pretty image only goes so far.

These were all shot with my Canon 40D and 16-35 f/2.8 lens.

ABOVE: This is definitely my favorite from the day. I actually overlooked it when sorting through on deadline for publication at The Daily, but in retrospect this should have been my cover shot hands down. There's one lesson in the way of sorting through frames on a tight deadline. I think it's the cross-lighting that does it most for me, accenting his face and the American flag draped across his shoulders. There's a passion there, and I can feel it looking at this image the same as I could when I was looking at his face that day.

ABOVE: The hard hats and safety vests that a large group of rally leaders wore were really symbolic to me. I liked this image because it was crisp and really froze the action at a time where things were actually moving very quickly.

ABOVE: This is another more standard "chanting and marching" rally photo. Again, I liked that I was able to freeze the action in a very fast-paced moment. Backpedaling to keep up was intense, but worthwhile and necessary. I really like the framing of the man in front between the two behind him.

ABOVE: At the front of the procession, there were several people dressed in traditional outfits beating drums and chanting. Though I don't claim to understand what they were doing, saying or representing, I did realize the significance of connecting with history. On an aesthetic level, I think I liked this photo both because of the bright colors and the mysticism that the incense smoke added.

ABOVE: One of the things that was most interesting to me as a photojournalist was the presence of children at the rally. Though some were barely able to walk and clearly too young to understand what was going on, others (who were still quite young) were incredibly passionate about the cause at hand. This boy's sign reads "I don't want immigrants to leave to Mexico, because I want my family together!" This is actually the only photo posted here that was printed, but I'm glad that it was; I think it represents an important part of the day and the movement as a whole.

ABOVE: This boy was one of my favorites of the entire day. There was definitely a lot of emotion in his face, which I honestly don't think I quite captured, but I did recognize it. My friend David Kasnic captured an amazing shot of this little guy during the actual march.

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