February 4, 2007

If You Are Not Outraged: The Latest Photos From Alan Chin


(click any photo to enlarge)

I invite your comments on this latest set of images from photojournalist and BAGnewsNotes contributer, Alan Chin.

Alan was in D.C. the weekend before last and offers us these shots of the anti-war demonstration. In a previous post, The BAG questioned the MSM’s visual coverage of the protest, given the lack of specificity in reported turn-out.  With Alan’s independent visual and written account, however, we get a better sense of both scale and intensity. 

Alan writes:

I went down to DC and photographed this demo, having photographed literally dozens of such rallies for various causes before (Million Man March, pro- and anti-abortion, the Inauguration, gay rights, etc. etc.) and honestly, compared to some of those, this was a drop in the bucket.

The energy was pretty low and the numbers were only middling for a beautiful sunny warm mid-winter day. Considering how the opinion polls are now so against the war and the results of the last election, I would have thought that more people would have turned out.

But perhaps that reflects a nationwide mood of weariness, apprehension, despair…rather than righteous anger or burning hot passion.

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For The BAG‘s part, I was interested in a couple themes and elements. 

In #4, the sense of the Capitol tipping while the protesters seem at right angle is wonderfully suggestive.  Regarding the war, one might ask: when is Congress going to "get it straight?"

In a discussion thread the other day, a reader commented that Rumsfeld (#5) still had an office at the Pentagon.  Is this true?

Alan’s use of black-and-white gives his images an historical feel.  In some of these shots, we could almost be looking at Vietnam-era photographs.  Number ten, tinged with happiness, is reminiscent of the hippy hippie movement.  Number six, on the other hand, evokes the sixties antipathy toward the the police, authority figures, the "man."  Notice the low-to-high relation between the hand with the peace sign (far left) and the policeman.

In the top photo (#1), don’t the women in the center strongly capture the contradiction in energy?  The sign reads:  "If You Are Not Outraged, You Are Not Paying Attention."  At the same time, the woman immediately to the right seems completely elsewhere.  Adding to the mix, the t-shirt of the girl in-between reads: "Imagine."  If the John Lennon reference is incredibly open-ended, the refrain of the famous song has its own association, stating:

"I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one."

All images © Alan Chin.  Used by permission. 

Contribution: Dear Readers, the BAGnewsNotes blog commits not to seek any operating fees or donations.  From time to time, however, The BAG intends to solicit donations for contributing photographers or photo-cooperatives.  Alan Chin is a completely independent, free-lance photojournalist and a primary contributer to this site.  He is also spending a majority of  this year  producing a book of his very important photographs of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.  If you have the means; you value Alan’s participation with The BAG; and you wish to encourage more unfiltered  photo-reportage, please help support Alan’s work.

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