Disobedience
Location: Chicago
Nationality: USA
Biography: Alexander has been a working photographer in Chicago for over a decade. He has taught at The Chicago Photography Center, as well as served on their Board. His passion for the city is matched only by his love of exploration and journalism. He has... read on
In Chicago on October 5th, 2018, Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago police officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old African-American Laquan McDonald. During the days and hours leading up to that verdict, tensions were high, many fearing the outcomes of an acquittal or not-guilty verdict. Police officers were placed on 12-hour shifts. Hundreds of commercial, institutional and public buildings warned residents/lessors of possible acts of violence. Some schools alerted parents that students would be dismissed early, before the verdict was read. Van Dyke’s defense attorney, Dan Herbert, wrote that “…it is abundantly clear that the community will riot if Van Dyke is found not guilty.” 
 
But the verdict was guilty, and the narrative of possible violence was rewritten. But at what cost? Were individuals and/or communities affected by the hyper-preparedness of police, merchant associations, schools, businesses? 
 
My goal is to visually document the lives of those who are impacted by inflammatory/misleading fiction: community leaders, activists, politicians, those affected by laws or ordinances that persecute, by immigrant coercion, by minimum sentences and cash bail; people targeted by anti-protesting laws, people facing deportation; people who’ve had their lives ruined by a month in jail.
 
My approach to photojournalism is that of a visual artist. I believe it is the duty of an artist to create compelling work that represents the attitudes towards, awareness of, and responses to the zeitgeist of our time. I intend to create work that provides a view of the causes of human experience, and responses to it; that demonstrates contrast with, but connection to, diverse human experience; that gives my subjects’ lives clarity amid the chaos and struggle that much of the world is unaware of or lacks access to.
 
I will be conducting interviews, and photographing the people that we only see glimpses of, but who are the real people on the ground effected by and affecting change, in an insensitive, unknowledgeable social climate. My work should be a celebration of, and a documentation of the experiences of my subjects - a 3D dimension portrait if you will.
 
Emotional intelligence is needed to do the job well.
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