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I have focused my lens on activism since the early seventies, documenting significant events related to human rights, civil liberties and conflict. Today, the momentum that compels people to rise up continues to define my work. I take photographs that challenge us to think about how we mobilize, and to what end social action affects the political outcome.
Over the past seventeen years, I have traveled across the U.S. with my camera taking the pulse of the nation. On the trail I had wild encounters, unexpected adventures, and was roused by both courageous activists as well as the angry fringe.
My goal is to create a documentary photographic collection that has followed dissent chronologically, as the culture of protest has escalated. My perspective concentrates on the three components I experience with every demonstration: the prominent speakers consisting of legendary activists and political figures, the crowd that is assembled, and the hierarchical levels of crowd control. I chose to document this work in black and white, as well as color 35 mm film, and digital. This project is ongoing as the political climate remains in chaos.
This collection of photographs is a visual documentary of our nation’s contemporary historic milestones, and reminds us where we’ve been, who we are, and brings into focus our changing democracy, framing this history through the power of the printed image. As I continue this project there is no shortage of discontent. Hard earned rights that Americans have taken for granted for generations are being overturned and diminished. It is my goal with this collection to engage the viewer, to feel the same outrage and compassion that I have experienced on the street. Those who have defended our rights for generations through protest continue to inspire me. Time and time again they find the energy to get back out there and motivate the first timers. And the question remains. What do we take away from these demonstrations?
Beyond the composition of the aggregate crowd shot, my intent has always been to portray the individual narrative, to follow those I have met on the trail, and capture the faces that leave us curious about their story. I continue to look for that iconic moment that we will remember as we look at the participation in activism, from year to year, to reflect on this history and perhaps identify our personal journey in relationship to these photographs.