• Capturing Dissent to the "New World Disorder"

    Election of U.S. President Donald Trump has done more than cause rumblings among politicians and governments worldwide, it's sparked public reaction in the streets of New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and numerous other cities and towns throughout America. Nations abroad from London, to Berlin, and even Moscow have publically expressed disapproval of the Trump regime, by taking to their feet.

    Marches, peaceful demonstrations, citizens brandishing banners and shouldering signs of outrage, have become almost weekly events in the past weeks.  For photographers - amateurs as well as those aspiring to professional careers, these are opportune times to not only show their own support, but to capture dramatic images of historical significance that can be placed on websites and in portfolios.

    The Compelling Image photographer and instructor, Gina Genis, herself took advantage of such a situation to do both recently. Camera in hand, Gina set foot to the streets of Washington, D.C. to cover the "Women's March," whose core purpose was to shed light on issues women face today, including wage inequality and health care. Some amongst the masses of women - and men - also used the venue to voice displeasure with the newly-elected U.S. president for his policy stance on such issues. Together, all made their way peacefully amid high security through the governmental center of the capital. The photos Gina came away with portray vividly both the unrest of the times and the spirit of a free society, flexing its democratic muscle.

    For a partipant, and a photographer, it's a huge adrenaline rush to be part of such a movement.  And although personal safety and discretion must always be top priority when photographing marches and demonstrations of any size and kind, the photos these events offer can be hugely storytelling and dramatic.  And since the aim of participants is to have their voices heard, photographs are given willingly, a strong card for photographers new to capturing fast-moving events in public. And that is another bonus - no need for official permission or a written model release that would normally be required for photography in a private venue. Still, it's good advice to politely ask if its minded that a photo be made in or near "personal space."  Amid all the activity, this usually takes no more than a engaged nod toward the camera and a friendly smile to get message across.  In the unlikely event the answer is no, one simply goes on to the next interesting situation. Showing your subject the photo on your digital camera's monitor goes a long way to nurturing friendly rapport. If you've got a website or blog, leaving its address where your photo can be found is a great gesture too.

    Gina had luck. Not just with the crowd, but with conditions for people photography on the day of coverage.  An overcast sky did away with worries about backlighting and blown-out highlights . The biggest challenge, she reports, was maneuvering through the massive shoulder-to-shoulder gathering to where the best photographs could be made. Roof-top possibilities were out due to security regulations in the vicinity of Washington's National Mall.

    But despite the logistics involved, Genis was moved by not only the photos she had access to, but the entire "feel" of the event she was a part of.

    In reference to her recent relocation from the U.S. West Coast to the nation's capital, she added.

    "I was amazed that millions participated in standing up for women's rights around the world. It's something I'd not expected. I felt pride that these women's voices could not be silenced this day. It was all about the power of strength in numbers," she said. "How lucky I am to have moved to D.C. at this particular moment in history."

    For a greater look at Gina's Women's Day" coverage, make a visit to her blog. And to take instructive advantage of her photographic expertise and supportive mentoring, sign up for an online and interactive class with Gina at The Compelling Image. 

     

    Tips for covering marches, processions and demonstrations:

    • Go light and mobile - one camera with a medium-wide to short telephoto lens (e.g. 28mm - 70mm).
    • Make safety your first priority / be aware of who and what is around you.
    • Take a friend to guide your movement when walking backward to follow a march or procession.
    • Spend some time in one place, rather than continually being on the move. You'll be rewarded with more emotional and personal "moments."
    • Take an extra CD or SF card and a spare and fully-charged battery or two with you.
    • Set your camera on "Program" mode and just concentrate on composition and "moments" you want to capture.

     

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