Black Lives Matter

It shouldn’t even need stating should it. Of course black lives matter, more than matter.

These moments, these days, feel like they matter too.


It’s hard to know what to say right now. I started writing more about photography during the pandemic but that suddenly seems almost irrelevant. The US is more in chaos than even a week ago. When racial prejudice is suddenly so clear to see. When so many are going out to protest, despite the virus. When the power of imagery is leading so much of the conversation and has the potential to be a catalyst for change.


There’s a lot I don’t know and understand about racism in this country. So when I read the posts telling me that I need to do this and this and this otherwise I’m part of the problem, I don’t entirely disagree. Because I realize that I’m relatively ignorant of the extent of the racial prejudice that still exists here. I realize that the prejudice and intolerance that’s so clear in recent videos and images is relatively foreign to me. That it’s because of privilege, and it’s not an excuse. That racism in the US is different to racism in the UK. And that I have a lot to learn.


Have you seen some of the images from Minneapolis in the first days of protest? Stunning images, brave photography, whatever you feel about the nature of some of the protests (and I don’t think many of us really know who is instigating the more destructive actions and what their motives are).


There are protests closer to us now, in Brooklyn, in Manhattan, and in Newark, NJ. Hundreds and thousands of people. I hadn’t been to any until today. I took a camera but mostly went to observe and listen and learn. I spoke to the police and to protestors and made a few images but not many. The police seemed well organized and equipped but also willing to talk. When one protestors shouted abuse at the police he was immediately shouted down by other protesters saying they didn’t want that here.


Most people were masked and trying to keep distanced, but it’s still hundreds of people relatively close together. But it also feels like it has to happen. If there are no protests then are we just accepting what happened?


Anyway, I’m not going to attempt any neat conclusion. But thank you to those that are recording photos and videos with care and respect, that show what needs to be seen so that it can’t be ignored, for getting close so we can see what’s going on. Let’s listen and respect everyone involved, at least as long as the protests, and control of them, remain peaceful.





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Headshot, portrait, street and documentary photographer in NYC and Jersey City

alastair.arthur@gmail.com

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