Let me get this out of the way: posting these photos doesn’t imply a stance for or against COVID measures such as masks and vaccines. This was purely an exercise in photojournalism and capturing historical moments via photography. If you want to hear the same ‘ol rhetoric about COVID, turn on Fox or CNN – or better yet, do neither.
Anyway… Despite the controversial nature of this rally, and divisiveness that COVID has carved between Americans, photographing this rally was a nice project. The problem with photographing rallies in Washington DC is that there are usually many other photographers present, and people seemingly are ready to pose for the camera. It’s often difficult to capture people expressing “real” energy. Sometimes I get the feeling folks are there to take selfies for their various Meta social media platforms and to “prove” to their peers that they’re good people who believe in a just cause.
For better or worse, the Defeat the Mandate rally felt different. I got the sense the attendees were passionate about their cause. As a photojournalist, this is exciting. There also weren’t that many other photographers in the crowd – in fact, most of them had a Leica slung around their shoulder. That was an interesting observation. The crowd and “type” of people at this rally offered a rare glimpse into Americana that I don’t see too often. So, in that regard, it was quite the photographic experience.
Photos shot with a Leica M 240 + 35mm Summicron ASPH and Leica Q.