Photographer David Elliott writes about the power of photography amidst both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Robert Cooper, David Elliott, & Jasmine Jones
There is power in a picture. It’s cultivated by what’s in front of the lens, that raw subject, whether that be a place or human or something else. That same power, while its frequency travels differently, is also what’s behind the lens hovering and holding the camera. Both are equally critical.
The first few weeks of COVID quarantine were a raw mix of emotions. A gut dropping sense of uncertainty and pure anxiety. Yet from Los Angeles, California to Providence, Rhode Island, creatives, activists, and even our most senior humans from across the world came out to create change and demand accountability after the lynching of George Floyd. While Mr. Floyd’s death wasn’t the first by the hands of police, his cries for his mother echoed across the globe and were amplified by the collective pause caused by COVID.
On the streets of Hartford, Connecticut, we gathered at City Hall, we gathered at the State Capital building, and we gathered at the steps of the mayor’s home. We walked the streets with signs held high. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will be at peace,” one protester’s sign reads while marching with the crowd.
People came out, stood in their doorways, and looked out their windows. This young person has placed their water bottle down, propped up their push scooter, and holds a sign that reads “Legalize Being Black.” This is the power of photography, and it is so much more than a thousand words.
We as photographers and creatives hold vivid memories of our work, the images we capture, and the places we’ve traveled with our cameras. Yet, I can not recall a time like this present moment.
The Juneteenth march of this year was the first march that I’ve attended. The protest centered around social justice, equality, and creating change. It could have been the chants from the crowd that echoed in the air, the waves of signs held up high, or a blending of it all that motivated me to capture these images. The images in this expose is the flint that ignites conversations that must happen NOW.