Five Photographers Discuss Why Documenting the Black Lives Matter Protests is Important to Them

The Black Lives Matter movement is arguably one of the most significant political and social movements in US history. The photographers in this video sit down to share their thoughts on why photographing the BLM movement is important to them, personally, as well as for posterity.

Coming from minority communities, each of these photographers are acutely aware of the importance of listening to what is being said before bringing the camera up to their respective eye. They're not passive observers taking strictly photojournalist images, they're a part of the protests. It's deeply personal to them, and that comes across in their images. 

I found Tahiti Abdul's perspective of people's need/want of anonymity particularly creative and considerate. By carefully choosing to use black and white for photographing protests, not only can she create impactful images, but as she states in the video, she can also selectively use contrast to help hide any possible identifying features of her subjects. Her use of color for portraits then adds a softer layer to her body of work. In a way, it helps to contextualize the protest photos while also creating an overall cohesive and intimate story.

Links to the other photographers' Instagram profiles:

Aaron Agyapong

Roger S. Echegoyen-Araujo

Duane Garay

Andy Jeronimo

Have you been photographing the protests or any other aspect of the BLM movement? Let us know in the comments.

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Deleted Account's picture

I'm just here for the comments.

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Gary Przyborski's picture

Nice video and writeup. These photographers work is so important to capture the continuing struggle for Americans of color from ongoing American police brutality. Today’s marches remind of photos of the Selma to Montgomery marches where policemen beat peaceful protesters and used German Shepherds to intimidate and injure other Americans. The photos capture an instant in time, but I hope that Americans will grow up and respect one another, and that the police will be held accountable for their violence, and ultimately become a force for good, instead of hate, as it has in some communities. Today’s photos mark the strivings for a better society.

J Cortes's picture

The Police is not a force of hate. You exaggerate.

Ivan Lantsov's picture

give land back to indians!

Timothy Turner's picture

Why should we give land to people in India?

Alexander Petrenko's picture

There are more and more people in India and they need more land. For me it's obvious.

Rhonald Rose's picture

Lol, the Indians mentioned here are the native Indians :-)

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Indians living in India are not native enough for you?

Alexander Petrenko's picture

They surely deserve more. We, indo-europeans need more land to live on.

Rhonald Rose's picture

That's why we migrate and occupy :-D

Cool Cat's picture

Martin Luther King Jr. would turn over in his grave to see what the Black Live Matter Movement has done in America. Disgusting.

Alex Herbert's picture

So many people speaking for Dr King. People who I'm sure would have said the same of him then as they say of BLM now...

"Black college students who engaged in peaceful sit-ins at lunch counters that denied them service because of the color of their skin were criticized for behavior that, however passive, appeared provocative to defenders of the status quo. What movement activists proudly characterized as “putting your body on the line” in promotion of racial justice and radical democracy was, in certain quarters, demonized as the unpatriotic behavior of communist-inspired subversives."

"Conservative efforts to taint civil rights demonstrations as violent, subversive or uncivil proved to be an effective line of attack that, over time, strongly influenced white moderates and liberals."

- The Washington Post on the civil rights movement.

Cool Cat's picture

Why is the organization of Black Lives Matter so focused on telling stories about themselves that seemingly exploits their race with social injustice? If they want to talk about exploitation and social injustice they should explain why they left out the Japanese, Chinese, Italians or Jews to name a few. Why is Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington (who are black) so disgusted with Black Lives Matter? That's because the organization of Black Lives Matter follow one another like sheep and spend no time doing research of the truth. They are thugs who want free hand-outs and are too lazy to work hard for a living like the rest of America, so they hate America instead. This organization doesn't understand that respect is earned, not given. They don't understand that inequality will always exist simply because of inequalities in talent, effort, good or bad life decisions and even the decisions of local governments. The reasons for inequality are probably as numerous as the people themselves. These people need to grow-up and stop being so offended with everything.

Alex Herbert's picture

LMAO! You should get a job at FOX, they'd fully support your 'viewpoint' and 'alternative facts'. I'm not going to directly respond to any of your claims because either you're a troll, or just completely lost in the world. Either way, have an awesome day! :)

Cool Cat's picture

I applied but they refused me because I worked for CNN (Comedy News Network).

Martin Smith's picture

People said literally the same thing in the 1960s about those protests that they're saying about today's protests ("I agree with the movement but not the violence.")

You know what would be even better than MLK rolling over in his grave? Being here to comment on the situation himself, but unfortunately MLK was shot by a white dude. It's telling that's who you'd like people to use as a role model.

(NOT ACTUALLY) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s picture

No I'm not. Please be quiet.

"When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos. Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society."


(NOT ACTUALLY) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s picture

I never publicly supported a political party. Here's what I wrote:

"I am not taking any public position in this election. In private opinion I find something to be desired from both parties. The Negro has been betrayed by both the Democratic and Republican Party...At this point I might say however, that I feel that the Negro must remain an independent voter, not becoming unduly tied to either party. He should seek to vote for the party which is more concerned with the welfare of all the people."


Alex Herbert's picture

You need to be active in more forums Dr King... so many people try to use your name for their own ends.

(NOT ACTUALLY) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s picture

I know, right?! Honest Abe's up here steaming over all these people using his name too. And don't get me started on Jesus and Mohammed; I don't know how those two handle all the perversions of their message!

Kirk Darling's picture

"I feel that the Negro must remain an independent voter, not becoming unduly tied to either party."

A point to remember is at that point in time, there were southern Republicans who were racially progressive, southern Democrats who were racially conservative, northern Republicans who were racially progressive, and northern Democrats who were racially conservative.

It was totally necessary--at that time--that each Black voter carefully note the actual position on the issues of each candidate rather than the party.

These days, however, the candidate's positions on racially progressive issues have become hardened and consistent along party lines.

Cool Cat's picture

Remember. If you make your bed you get to sleep in it. So stop blaming someone else for all your inabilities.

(NOT ACTUALLY) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s picture

(BTW: I changed my profile to help those like you who may have difficultly separating fact from fiction)

jim hughes's picture

Intentionally or not, the group has become irrevocably identified with rioting, vandalism and looting of innocent businesses. King would explain to them how totally counterproductive this is.

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