Yesterday I had an experience that I feel has altered the way I think about photography as a powerful medium in a big way. I took photo's at a protest rally at the Guildhall square in Portsmouth and the whole area was filled with aggression, hatred and anger.
Now, I'm not going to criticise anyones politics or personal point of view. To quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall :
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
So this blog post is how purely about how the day's events affected me personally and nothing about other peoples politics and ideals.
I felt very uncomfortable at the protest, all the negative vibes that were flying around really impacted on me and it showed in my photography. Some photographers live for those kind of situations, and more power to them, but it's just not for me.
I left shortly after it began and went off in search of beautiful things and people to take photos of. Mostly to just balance out things in my mind and to try and restore my inner equilibrium.
I happened upon four ladies holding signs that read "Peace" and "Women in black stand for peace" so I asked if I could take their photograph, which they happily allowed me to.
I was struck by the quiet determination of these four women. There wasn't any shouting, they didn't try to force their ideals on me. They were simply standing vigil, knowing that the four of them probably wouldn't make a huge impact on the world at large but they were standing up (literally) for what they believe in and had the courage of their convictions.
Ladies, I salute you.
I realised as I was taking these photo's that my camera , and what I choose to share with the world, can be a powerful tool. But like all tools it can be destructive instead of creative.
I won't share the photo's I took at the Guildhall that day, there's no space in my life or photography (which are one and the same) for hatred and bigotry but I'll happily share these photos of four women in black that are doing what they believe in a quiet and dignified manner.
They are part of a worldwide organisation and their website can be found here:http://www.womeninblack.org/old/en/vigil