Protests in Portland

I figured this would be an appropriate and fun first blog post for me to share. It's taken me a while to come to terms and realize, I'm not going to have a complete vision for my blog before I begin. So the best way for me to discover is to delve into the deep! As a documentary photographer and a lover of Portland we will begin here!

I have been following the protests and rallies that have been in Portland over the last few months. First, for Black Lives Matter and then the Trump Protests.

I love street photography. Generally, you will find me out on the streets with my Leica M3, black and white film, loaded and ready. The first protest I came upon was because of a tip from my friend Diego Diaz who was on an assignment to capture some images. I was only blocks away from Pioneer Square at that moment and bee-lined my way right over. A crowd was forming and the usual ingredients were being added to the mix. Some people, passion, anger, signs, masked man. It started out rather mellow but grew. The intensity in these crowds is an experience in itself. This particular one ended in the swat team coming to arrest a man making threats with a loaded gun. By the way... I made some pinhole images of this one as well! Why not!?

I currently find the Portland protests fascinating. It's almost like they are a subculture all on their own. It's interesting, as I continue to photograph different protests I start recognizing faces. I wonder how many people are protesting just to be a part of something. I mean who isn't welcomed into a protest... the collective wants anyone they can get since masses essentially equal agreement. The larger the voice, the more media, the further the voice is launched and potentially heard.  So if you show up for the protest, you are part of the message.

Everyone wants to be heard.

This is what makes it even more interesting to me. Things have been getting a little more intense here in Portland. There's been vandalism and some violence during the "peaceful" protests. Those people who were vandalizing were the anarchists but are now lumped in with the "peaceful protests" dirtying the message and changing the voice. Guilty by association basically. The reason that is interesting... how many story's, news clips and facebook posts do we see that tell only a fraction of the truth... ever single one of them. They are telling a portion of the story that they find interesting or the part they think you will find interesting. 

As a photographer, I can go into a protest and photograph in many different ways. It's all about what I want to say in regards to the protest. What is the message I want to voice... Do I want to show the violence, the peace, the ridiculous behavior, the hope for change and or the collaborative nature?

This is a big deal because as a documentary photographer I am telling people's stories through photographs. All those pieces are present in the protest. So how does one tell a nonbias story and maybe the better question would be, is that even possible? We all have our biases, our hangups and even unconscious agendas. We each have a worldview that has been instilled in us since birth. How does one not have a bias? Therefore, how can a story ever be officially and actually neutral? And, is it that important? 

Back to the individual though...

Just as an individual can come and join a protest, sporting their own attire, signs and chants they are free to be who they are and stand for what is in their heart. That is the truest way to come. As a photographer documenting events, I do my best to come as I am and see as I see and tell the story that grabs me. If I try to document in any other way I may capture a story, but it won't truly be mine.

Even though I am telling another's stories there is an element of me in every single one. I cannot be separated from the story I create. I wouldn't want to be. This is what makes every story unique and why we can have a world that is so full of repeating stories.. because no matter how many times we tell a story it can be newly told and newly received.

As far as protests are concerned, I have so many more thoughts and ideas in regard to protests and the human condition. I will save those for another time~

With all of that said, I welcome you to view my gallery :) 

Lastly, if you would like to see more of what is happening in Portland with the Protests KATU is a good place to see video of the latest breaking news. Also, Portland Resistance is raising money to help pay for the damage done in the Pearl during one of the riots by some of the less peaceful protesters. Click on the links for details!