Engaging the Shutter [G20 Inquiry Protest Coverage]

Those who know my work, follow my blog will also know that I am quick to romanticize the moments I have been able to be a part of and  have since documented. The moment I am ready to step on to the stage and capture life becomes very much like an athletic conditioning, clearing my mind in order to  allow it become an observant instrument as I walk from each moment and each scene. There is a point where my world stops and their world begins.

The last event I covered I saw a difference when my mind is totally clear and focused on the story at hand. The recent protest I had spent some time observing the crowd before the march actually started. I found the characters that had something engaging to say and with a crowd of 1200 or so I kept my eye on them the whole time while moving about. Always going back to various points of the protest to ensure I kept tabs on them. I also decided to do something a little different. Admittedly a little bold when there is way more of them and me but the trick was to be courteous and acknowledge the folks. While the procession moved forward, I held my ground forcing them to move around me thus capturing the stories wanted to tell. Here are the usual suspects that I kept my eye on and had a really awesome feeling as I knew they would give me the shots I required for editorial content. With the police blockades and escort I pretty much had free reign for the entire protest being able to run down the open street and move about freely without worry of vehicles and obstructions as well as bystanders. Below is small segment of shots that became personal favourites from covering the event.

Shot 1: This was the shot I had hoped to have captured when I first saw this guy, Just didn’t know it until it happened. I tagged this guy numerous times throughout the protest and each time the shots were getting better, then I saw the light change, reflection of his yellow placard illuminating his face and I quickly dialed my exposure down to give him his time in the spotlight.

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Shot 2 : This girl was one of the first that I had seen when walking into Queen’s Park and loved that her message was clear and short. Given that the protest was in regards to the police brutality, it made sense to find her with the police later and capture her message.

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Shot 3: This is one of many where the guy with the mohawk appeared in my shots, I saw him earlier in Queen’s Park looking excited and energized for the protest and knew that him and his two friends would be good subjects to bounce with throughout the march. They gave me two incredible moments. This one you see here with one reaching a victorious fist into the air. I could sense his energy and pride and with the almighty CN Tower in the background, I  decided to sit low down to the ground and waited for several minutes and I almost did a victorious hit for the sky myself seeing the shot on screen.

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Shot 4: This shot means a lot to me personally. One because I was able to capture an emotion, a physical gesture and finally figured out why I am always standing at the corner of Broadview and Gerrard waiting for my streetcar. That streetcar folks takes me home everyday, it was stalled for quite some time during this march.

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Shot 5: I had spotted this crew at starting point and again bounced within the protest to keep up with them from time to time. This was one stop where I held ground as the procession moved around me. This guy just had so much to say without as much as uttering a word. His energy was incredible, his facial gestures were priceless. Naturally he took up a couple of frames and appreciated my camera being on him.

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Shot 6: You couldn’t move anywhere within this protest without noticing the bright red cannabis patriotic reworking of the Canadian flag that moved about with the march. There were two flags like this and this was the moment where we were heading into Queen St. and Spadina Ave. where much of the root for this protest was the subject of. You could feel the energy soaring at this point. The chants louder, the percussionists were loudly banging their drums to rally up the troops. People were fired up. I knew what was going to happen as I was given the heads up on the grounds of Queen’s Park by one of the rally marshalls. It helps to talk to the people to get a sense of what might happen.

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Shots 7 and 8: This was a tense moment between protesters and police. This was the scene of what has become a public outcry over improper police detainment durning the G20 Weekend Riots at the end of June. The energy I spoke of in the last shot was leading to this moment where protesters sat down in the middle of the intersection. The police started reacting patiently but the sit in only lasted for about 10 minutes. If you look in the background of the first shot. Yet another streetcar I am always waiting for. Life’s little mystery’s were being solved while capturing an unrelated story. This was an obvious, the front row protesters are energetic and more so proud of what they are doing right at the moment. I was there to hear the chants “Who’s Street’s, Our streets!”, “This is what a democracy looks like” and when I look at the photo again, I can hear it as if it were still happening.

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