First and foremost, I can breathe a bit easier now that this project has ended. The five months this series took away from me are nothing short of eventful. I have experienced a movement that has been by the people, for the people and nothing more than that, except for the greater good for a society built by us.
As I sit on my car’s hood writing this out, I only feel obligated to continue documenting and pursuing my role as a journalist.
But here is my side, the side that was not published nor spoken too much about through the months. I will be telling you about moments through this project, I assure you, your time will not be wasted.
In essence, this began with my curiosity. I was offered to accompany someone to the January 20th Inauguration Day protest in downtown Los Angeles. I’ve never been too crazy about city life or being in the midst of an urban landscape such as LA, but something told me that attending that protest would be one hell of an experience. Little did I know what I would take away from it.
As we approached City Hall on feet (we had taken the bus to downtown), there were several news station crews waiting for the people to arrive. Adolescents were on the steps already, chanting “fuck Donald Trump” and “my body, my choice, her body, her choice”. These were the first chants I ever heard at the start, I would continue to hear these at the rest of the protests I would attend.
The rain came down hard, it soaked everyone to their bones, and my camera to the sensor, but the energy could never be extinguished in those hours.
This energy was what compelled me. It grounded me to this movement, you could feel the anger, the frustration, the hate, the unity, and the struggles of everyone around you.
You were human for a moment & you could exist with no filter.
“Fuck Donald Trump”
I yelled that at the top of my lungs. The exertion felt right, it felt pure and necessary, just as this blog post feels to me right now.
Before I go on, I need to tell you about one thing that is important: a moment of clarity. This goes back to me learning photography and how to use a camera.
I know I just interrupted so I’ll keep this concise, bear with me. I might jump around a bit but those who know me personally know I just love to do that when telling stories.
In photography, there are three basic settings you need to learn to manipulate on your camera. I had trouble learning these at first, I was annoyed that I wasn’t figuring them out so I told myself to sit down and not get up until I knew exactly how to manipulate them.
With all of my concentration on my camera, and all of my prior knowledge, it took me twenty minutes to learn this.
In psychology, “flow” is a mental state where a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of focus, involvement, and enjoyment in what one does.
If you have ever experienced flow, I applaud you because I firmly believe a life without passion is not worth living.
I had a moment of clarity because of my flow. This moment made me empowered and made me feel that the whole world was now not so far or big because of what I could accomplish with photography: anything.
End relevant tangent.
The times. The times, they pass us and they approach us; we exist in a perpetual state of fleeting moments.
Depicted above is my vision during my second moment of clarity. The moment that the culmination of all the energy from those around me, their voices, their grievances, their presences, and their existences, converged onto me and I then knew to my fucking bones that these were the times. This was my world, united in the streets, saying it loud & clear, we are all important.
By this time, my camera had actually been soaked from the rain and it wasn’t turning on.
I hurriedly told my friend to pass me her camera and proceeded take this photograph.
I felt the mirror in the camera flip a few times, handed it back, and continued marching with hundreds of people.
That was day 1.
This project pushed me to become the journalist I have always intended to be. It pushed me to try new things with photography, capture images of things I never imagined to experience.
Last, but not least, I want you to know two things:
1. I appreciate your time.
2. If you want change, seek it.
Special thanks to Professors Elizabeth Zwerling and Eric Borer for helping me shape this into what it became.
To my parents, who were always concerned about me being arrested in an altercation.
To Josue Landin, be strong, my good friend.
To Geber Penate, for always fighting the good fight.
To Amanda Duvall, for the invitation and passing me your camera without any noticeable hesitation.
More to come.
visio et partem