December means it’s time for another year in review post. 2018 brought us to Canada, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, DC, and a whole bunch of other places. Here are a few favorites (99 to be exact) from the last 365 days! Click any photo to expand it.
On Saturday, March 24, 2018, hundreds of thousands marched across the United States and around the world in support of stricter gun laws. In Boston, an estimated 50,000 people joined the march from Roxbury to a rally on the Common.
I've photographed several marches and protests over the last two years but this one was different. The atmosphere was more energetic, more positively charged, and more hopeful, but also more sorrowful. Seeing kids in high school and middle school, many not old enough to vote, turn out in such huge numbers is simultaneously deeply encouraging and soul-crushing.
Many voices are praising the kids in these photos as the future leaders of our country. While encouraging, it's sad to think that we're placing the burden of change on these young students. Look closely. Behind the clever signs and slogans chanted in unison, there is fear.
There is fear that old laws won't be amended in time and new ones won't be implemented fast enough. Fear that this flashpoint of an issue will hold up efforts to make schools, theaters, malls, and concert venues safer. Fear that their friends and classmates will remain in danger. Fear that the older generations, the ones in office and in power now, will abandon this younger generation. Out of indifference or unwillingness to fight against the inertia of the status quo. Or our of their own fear of political backlash.
I feel incredibly fortunate that I'm able to capture images of this movement. When you look at these photos, please take a close look at the faces within them. See the determination, the hopefulness, and the intensity of their belief. If these kids can turn out by the thousands then we owe it to them to overcome our own fear and join them in this fight.
2017 was a wild ride.
This video from Google does a beautiful job of summing it all up.
In my own life a lot of things happened too. I got married. I moved from D.C. to Boston. I started a new job. Alicia and I spent two weeks traveling across Morocco and Greece. I made new friends and reconnected with old ones and discovered new ways of seeing the world.
Along the way, I shot over 20,000 photos. I photographed protests, weddings, concerts, and a presidential inauguration.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite images from the last 52 weeks. Some are from recognizable moments while others, like sunset from the day of my wedding or the snowstorm I drove through when I moved the last of my stuff to Boston, are more personal.
Here's what 2017 looked like for me.
P.S. Click on any of the photos to see it full size
Last weekend, I checked Twitter and saw that every major trending topic was related to the travel ban Donald Trump enacted on Friday, January 27. That evening, airports around the country slowed to a crawl as demonstrators flooded terminals and drop off areas to protest the ban and demand the release of detained travelers.
Over the next 24 hours, word spread quickly on social media of additional coordinated protests in major cities beginning at 1pm on Sunday. I grabbed my cameras and made my way over to Lafayette Square in front of the White House where several thousand people had gathered with signs, flags, and megaphones.
The crowd squeezed around the temporary fencing still surrounding the Inauguration parade reviewing stand. I joined a group of demonstrators and journalists who had pulled themselves onto the low balcony that surrounds the Federal Claims court. Around me, protestors climbed the metal bars covering the court's windows for a better view. Every few minutes, a mix of different chants erupted from the group.
I slowly made my way around the balcony, past couples holding hands and women in hijabs, military veterans and young children seated atop their parents shoulders. At 3pm, the crowd setoff down Pennsylvania Avenue and marched past Trump International Hotel to the Capitol Building. The hotel has become the focus of so many protests over the last few months that I wonder if anyone still books rooms there.
One chant in particular that I heard stuck with me. It went "welcome to your ninth day, we won't go way." Considering that this is the third protest I've photographed in a week, it seems like the protestors are sticking true to that mantra.
Yesterday, I joined over 500,000 people in DC and millions in sister events worldwide to show support for women's rights. It was by far the largest crowd I've ever been a part of. Supporters flew from across the country, drove from neighboring cities, and filed into crowded metro stations, some waiting over 2 hours to catch a train into the city. The final mass of people overflowed from the National Mall onto the surrounding streets and completely shutdown major roads around downtown DC.
The attendees covered so much ground that the original march route, from the Capitol Building to The White House, was completely packed. I was unable to get within a block of the main stage due to the densely packed crowd. Every few minutes, a rumbling roar of cheers would spread through the crowd, starting near the stage and sweeping backwards. Around the main group, spontaneous side marches broke out like slow moving rivers of pink hats, shirts, signs, and balloons. There was constantly movement all around. In the chaos of so many moving people, I'm not sure if the main march ever started.
Although very claustrophobic at times, I was struck by how polite everyone was, even when crammed shoulder to shoulder on tight side streets. National Guardsmen stationed around the march smiled and took photos with demonstrators.
To get to the north side of the event, I joined hundreds of marchers on 12th Street as they walked through cavernous tunnels beneath the mall on the normally busy roadway. We emerged into daylight a few hundred yards from Trump International Hotel. Booing and chants of "shame" sprung up all around as many demonstrators laid their signs against the newly placed crowd barricades surrounding the hotel. On the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building, a flood of demonstrators streamed by. Late into the night, demonstrators filled restaurants, stores, and coffee shops around the city.
Altogether, I walked over 30 miles this weekend, met dozens of people, and took thousands of photos. I'm not sure what the next 4 years will hold for our country but I'm glad I was able to be a part of this past weekend's historic events.
Another 6am wakeup and a brisk walk past parked dump trucks blocking streets around the security permitter brought me to an inauguration entry check point on 10th Street NW. In front of the tall metal fences, several dozen protestors had gathered with signs and megaphones. As I tried to move around them, a man in a black sweatshirt with a bandana over his face blocked off the sidewalk with a metal crowd barrier. "This checkpoint is closed," he told me, before disappearing into the crowd. Moments later, police stepped in to remove the barricades long enough for me to pass through. In response, several demonstrators linked arms and fanned out across the sidewalk in a renewed effort to prevent entry.
Scenes like this could be found at many check points yesterday, as protestors obstructed entrances and created long lines and hours long wait times. Once inside, I walked down Pennsylvania avenue towards Capitol Hill through sparse crowds. Thousands of law enforcement officers lined both sides of the street, in some areas outnumbering spectators and demonstrators alike. Within the United States Naval Memorial, a larger group of protestors had set up a stage and PA system.
Once the presidential motorcade carrying Obama and Trump, passed on its way to the Capitol building I was able to cross Pennsylvania avenue and enter the National Mall. To my right, a sea of faces stretched out towards the Washington Monument. To my left, the white Capitol dome shone brightly against the grey sky. At first it was difficult to gauge the size of the crowd but, as I walked closer to the Capitol building, large gaps still remained amongst the audience.
The atmosphere was surprisingly subdued as the ceremony began. As the announcer called out the names of those in attendance, some, like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and Barrack Obama, were met with scattered boos and jeers. It wasn't until Trump began the oath of office that the crowd began to really liven up. As he repeated the last words of the oath, members of the crowd around me lit victory cigars.
After the ceremony ended, I walked the 11 blocks to 18th street and the end of the security perimeter. I had heard that protestors on 12th street NW and L had smashed a bus station earlier in the day and began walking that way. I arrived to find a tense standoff between rows of police in riot gear and several groups of protestors in the park. Most of the demonstrators were peaceful and respectful but several had covered their faces with black bandanas, goggles, and gas masks. I rounded a corner to a blocked off street and squeezed through the tight space between the protestors and a building to get a better shot of the opposing lines.
I snapped a few images of a young child on top of his mother's shoulders and then two men wearing "Make America Great Again" hats passed in front of me between the protestors and the police. When the two men entered the crowd, someone sent a full plastic water bottle sailing towards one of their heads. It made contact with a crunching thud and was quickly followed by hands slapping the men. Police responded with pepper spray and quickly moved in to push the crowd back down 12th street.
That was all it took to ignite an outpouring of violence from a small sub sect of the protestors. Members of the black bloc group dressed in dark clothes with black bandanas covering their faces turned and threw chunks of rock and broken concrete towards the lines of police. Thick pink smoke billowed from the park behind us and flash bang grenades detonated around me. One demonstrator turned and began walking back towards the advancing law enforcement, both his hands raised in a gesture of defiance. More pepper spray and flash bang explosions followed. The crowd retreated towards the intersection of K Street and 12th where another standoff ensued. Some demonstrators dragged newspaper boxes into the street, which would later be set a blaze along with trash cans and a parked limousine.
All together, the group of protestors turned rioters comprised a very small group of the crowd. When some black bloc members began throwing rocks at the windows of a local business, bystanders called out for them to stop. "This is what we came here for," they shouted back in response before running off down the street.
After several minutes, I turned and began walking home. My eyes and mouth burned from the residual pepper spray clouds. Behind me, the booming reverberations of flash bang grenades echoed off the buildings and people walked passed with frightened looks on their faces. Altogether, 217 people were arrested and two officers were injured. I watched the rest of the day's events from a friend's apartment. Later that evening, Trump's motorcade flew by a few feet in front of us on its way to an inaugural ball. This time, there were no protestors.