This Powerful Photograph Represents an Entire Movement

The recent fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge has sparked numerous protests and calls for change, fueled all the more by other recent high-profile cases. In particular, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained more and more traction. One photographer took a remarkable image that helps capture the current climate surrounding police and race relations in the United States.

On Saturday, a protest blocked Airline Highway, the road that passes in front of Baton Rouge Police Headquarters. Jonathan Bachman, a New Orleans freelance photographer, was present for the protest and captured the image shown below. 

POWERFUL photo from Baton Rouge. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman of Reuters.) UPDATE: She was just released.

Posted by Shaun King on Sunday, July 10, 2016

In speaking with The Atlantic, Bachman noted: 

It happened quickly, but I could tell that she wasn’t going to move, and it seemed like she was making her stand. To me, it seemed like: 'You’re going to have to come and get me.' And I just thought it seemed like this was a good place to get in position and make an image, just because she was there in her dress, and you have two police officers in full riot gear.

It wasn’t very violent. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t resist, and the police didn’t drag her off.

The protestor was arrested and charged with obstructing a highway, then released. Many are declaring the photo "iconic," saying her calmness in juxtaposition to the onrushing police in tactical gear represents the face of Black Lives Matter and is reminiscent of many such historical movements. It's certainly a striking image.

[via The Atlantic]

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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I've been seeing this all morning and it's a great image, I think it'd look better as a contrasty black and white but thats just my personal preference.

I agree with you about the ridiculous robocop outfits these cops are wearing. And the out of control police culture FOR SURE. but systematic racism doesn't exist across America and its police? How about some facts from the biggest police department in the US?

Pete, I recall an interview with a police commander who wanted his people wearing "soft" uniforms when practical as the wearing the the Robocop outfits encouraged aggressive behavior of officers and protesters and needless escalation of the situation...of course if it got out of hand, he had 2 busloads of Robocops around the corner.

No, it doesn't. Black Lives Matter is basically a racist terror group. It was founded by militant feminists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opel Tometi, with Garza widely recognized as the most influential of the three. In an article which details the philosophical foundation of Black Lives Matter, Garza cites, "Assata’s powerful demand in my organizing work."

Assata is a reference to Assata Shakur, otherwise known as Joanne Deborah Chesimard, a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary who escaped from prison in 1979 while serving a life sentence for the murder of a New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster. If you look at photos of protesters, you'll see them with signs saying "Assata taught me how to fight". The group holds up a cop-killer, still on the FBIs most-wanted list, as a hero.

Last year, an apparent Black Lives Matter activist and radio host, "King Noble", said on a BlogTalkRadio broadcast that it is “open season on killing whites and white police officers, and probably killing cops period. We will witness more executions and killing of white people and cops than we ever have before.”

By the way, according to stats from last year and the year before, the police killed more white people than black people (almost twice as many).

So far this year (2016) – 138 black people killed vs 281 white.
Last year (2015) TOTAL – 306 black killed vs 581 white.

The Washington Post has its own talley – 258 black killed vs 494 white killed for 2015.
This year (2016) – 123 black killed vs 238 white.

It doesn't matter that black people only make up 13% of the population? Or that 1 out of every 4 blacks will spend time in prison. You think that there is a reason for that or do you think black people are just worse people in general.

You're right, blacks make up 13 percent of the population. But as Heather MacDonald writes in The Wall Street Journal, 2009 statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties.

That's a serious lack of statistical analysis. Look at #2 here Nearly the same amount black men are killed compared to white men while unarmed even though there are much fewer black men in the US. How do you explain that gap if it's not racism causing it?

Yeh, but Vox.... The liberal website, one of whom once exclusively interviewed Obama. All the studies I have seen elsewhere (such as the ones I cited above) show that almost twice as many whites are killed by police than blacks. The Guardian newspaper actually started their tally so that they could be critical of police and to highlight the number of black people shown and were actually surprised when whites far outnumbered blacks killed. I don't know where Vox gets their stats or how they have spun it, but it doesn't line up with what I've read elsewhere.

Holy Shit. Why can't we just focus on the PHOTOGRAPHY here. No one cares about your political views or how you interpret the facts you choose to support what ever point you already believe. That goes for both sides.

Halloween come early for this year in Baton Rouge? RoboCop is so 2014.

Is this is a great image? Yes! Is it the image that is going to represent the whole BLM movement? That remains to be seen. History hasn't been written yet and calling it the emblematic photo of the entire movement seems premature.