I’d never been to a protest before the Women’s March in Washington D.C., 2016. And yet, this particular day shattered my preconceived image of political protests. It felt like less of a protest, and more of a communal uprising. Less of a protest for a concrete matter, more of a general refusal to comply with certain values. We were necessitating and demanding a change. By marching, we represented an active refusal of our society’s current state.
A year and a half later, I am grateful that I have photos that illuminate the indescribable energy and momentum of 470,000 people who gathered for the first official Women’s March.
A Sea of Pink
I am overwhelmed by my surroundings, yet,I need to capture it all. The task feels insurmountable, but I snap away, my eyes clinging to a sea of pink hats. No one person or sign stands out to me; only the pink does. Standing on a ledge above the crowd, everyone looks the same.
My Body, My Rights
My friends and I make and hold signs, but I feel detached from the pieces of paper flailing in my hands, despite how powerful their words are. So we take sharpies and write on ourselves—it feels like the most intimate form of self-expression. It is how we claim self-ownership. We can draw on ourselves, but no one else can.
Still, I Rise
For a while I am fixated on cropping the individuals out of photos, focusing only on two hands clinging to a poster board or piece of paper. In this one, you can’t see the person holding the sign at all—only her arms
Often other people’s bodies crowd the photo, serving as a makeshift frame for the sign itself.
Fight Like a Girl
I am sometimes hesitant to ask people to pose for photos; I’d rather capture them as their candid selves. It feels more authentic. And yet, it was too hard to pass up the genuine eagerness to be photographed. Stick a camera in someone’s face—they’ll rarely smile back. Here, though, they did. They want to show off who they are, what they’re holding, what they stand for.
Sometimes the oceans of pink become a rainbow in front of my eyes. And I remember it’s not just about women’s rights—it’s about peace, and it’s about human rights. Even kids know it, and are fighting for it. Donald Trump has just been elected, and the future is painfully difficult to predict, but everyone still smiles, as we march forward. This isn’t a march of despair or anger; crowds scream hope for the future.
See our Beauty Within
This one is not posed. The woman looks fiercely to her left, and I’m not sure what her eyes are fixated on, but looking back, her expression contributes to the photo’s energy. Her eyes look deliberate, purposeful. Her sign is a flimsy paper with bubble letters messily colored in—a kid could’ve done it.