American as Apple Pie-The Silent Inauguration

with 5 Comments

 

What is more American than protesting your own government? Disagreeing with my government and living to talk about it is one of the many things I love about the Good Ole USA. The forefathers knew what they were doing when they made the First Amendment of our constitution the Freedom of Speech. In fact, here is what it actually says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

….peaceably to assemble…..” is the key to a proper protest. While I agree with anyone’s right to protest, I do not condone violence toward people or property. There is NO excuse or understanding for anyone to hurt people or destroy property. That’s not a protest. It’s anarchy. I’m glad to say that most of the protest in this series were conducted properly. Whether you are a Hillary or Obama fan or a Trump and Pence supporter, you all have the same right to voice your opinion without fear of consequences from your peers or your government.

There is one caveat when it comes to fear of consequences from your peers. Obviously violence is something you should not have to worry about for having a different opinion. The thing that is not as clean cut is how people judge you for not thinking like them. We all heard about businesses not serving people because of politics. That in itself is whole blog post on its own. The point is that in today’s political climate, we run the risk of alienating people just because we think differently. I think this is sad and shows how closed minded we have become. Agree with me or be damned! There aren’t any laws about being closed minded. This is a behavioral issue that has to be corrected from the ground up.

Those of you who follow my blog know that I have a passion for street and documentary photography. I envy those photographers who go on assignments to faraway lands to document the different life styles and cultures across our globe. I have much respect for the war photographers who risk their lives to bring the war home through their pictures. Those would be dream jobs. Oh well, I will have to settle for creating my own documentary photography in my backyard. With Nashville nearby, there is always something happening. I have a feeling that with the Donald in the White House, there will be plenty of opportunities to break out my camera.

The goal for my “American as American Pie” series is to document through photos the events of the Silent Inauguration, the Women’s March, and the Spirit of American Rally (aka March 4 Trump). While these photos are seen from my perspective, they are not meant to put a negative or positive spin on the rallies and protests. The photos are not staged or manipulated. The only manipulation, if you want to call it that, is my choice of composition. I do not want politics to get in the way of the spirit of these protest as shown through my pictures, but I do understand these protests and rallies are shrouded in politics. Thus, if you must, please comment. I like political discussion that is actually a discussion. When you get into the name calling and insults, it’s time to move on. For full disclosure, I am a conservative. You can be the judge of whether my photos project a perspective of bias or not. I like to think that I can be objective, especially as a photojournalist, but I am human.

Part 1 of this series will show protests from the Left followed by a rally from the Right in Part 2. Part 1 will have 5 separate posts. This may change because my Women’s March scans are not due for another couple of days. After reviewing the scans, I may break things up differently. I am not sure how many posts I will have for Part 2.  My part 2 images have not been processed. Once again, I will have to do some curating to determine the total number of posts. When all the posts from Part 1 and Part 2 are published, I will make a final post to summarize my feelings and thoughts about my photos and these events. That post will definitely be more political as I will share my own personal feelings.

 

{UPDATE: After receiving my Women’s March Scans, I decided to keep the event together as one post versus breaking them up into separate rolls of film as I had originally planned. Upon reviewing my scans, I feel the post would have more impact if all images were published together. Thus, I will change the series to 3 posts that will be separated by their subtitles: Silent Inauguration, Women’s March and Spirit of America Rally.}

 

Let’s talk a little about photography and my choice of gear and medium. If you know me or you follow this blog, you know about my love for analog photography. Over the years, I’ve viewed many street photography photos and documentary photos from long ago. The majority of these photographs I studied are mostly black and white analog pictures. The thing that I find alluring about those photos is their timeless look. I believe this timeless look is achieved by the analog medium of film. Maybe it’s the grain or contrast? There is just something in that celluloid that leaves and indelible mark on the viewer. I fell in love with this look. More importantly, I fell in love with the photographer I become, when I’m shooting film. I won’t debate film vs digital. I still make plenty of digital images. I believe the two mediums serve different purposes. What I like about shooting my analog cameras is the added planning and discrimination that I’m forced to use before I hit the shutter. This is a direct result of not being able to see my photo instantly and only having a certain amount of frames on a roll of film. I love this tactical experience as much as I do the final image.

Black and white film seems to be the official choice of street and documentary photography. However, there are plenty of street and documentary photos in color and they are quiet nice! It’s just that I am a traditional kind of guy and black and white is my choice. More particularly, I chose Kodak TRI-X 400. While current emulsions of this film might be a hair different from what was offered in the past, it is still highly regarded as one of the best black and white films ever made. I’ve tried a few, but I keep coming back to TRI-X for my street work.  My camera and lens choice is an Olympus OM1 slr and a 50mm f1.8 lens. This is my favorite street combination. The 50mm provides a normal view and the all-mechanical OM1 slr, with all the buttons in the right places, never gets in the way. For these events, I also carried along my 28mm for those wide angles. The negatives were developed and scanned by the FINDlab in Orem, Utah.

With the exception of a few images, there’s not a lot of commentary for these photos. These pictures quiet literally speak for themselves. I do not have to give you a disclaimer regarding language in this post, but I definitely will for the Women’s March post. How’s that for a teaser? However, I must warn you about a couple of graphic signs towards the end of this post. I apologize if these images disturb you in anyway. These pictures were captured on January 20, 2017 at Centennial Park in Nashville, Tennessee, the same day of President Donald’s Trump’s official inauguration. I believe one of the chief organizers of the event was Bruce Dobie, political analyst and former boss of the Nashville Scene newspaper. Here’s a snippet from the Silent Inauguration website:

The Silent Inauguration is a gathering of citizens in Nashville, on Inauguration Day, at the same time Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office. Rather than watch the inauguration on television, or take part in the program, we will come together and engage in silence…………..

That Friday morning was mild and partly cloudy. I actually prefer some cloud cover to even out the light. It appeared initially that hardly anyone was going to show up. I left the event area and took a stroll around the Parthenon. When I came back, people started to arrive. I would estimate that a crowd of more than 300 people came together for the event.

 

 

 

 

 

Almost every generation was represented in the crowd from toddlers and teenagers to parents and grandparents. Some made this a family affair.

 

 

 

 

 

A protest would not be a protest without signs. Name your issue. It was probably displayed on at least one of the many signs. Some of these were creative and witty, while some were comical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not only were their plenty of signs made. The protesters dressed for the part as well. Politically charged t-shirts were very popular. Some were even sold at the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An agent from the Department of the Navy was there. At least he was sporting their jacket. Maybe he was there to help keep the peace.

 

 

I don’t remember seeing much of a police presence. I recall seeing two security personnel dressed in black. I’m not sure what outfit these security men belonged. It was not until a couple of rabble-rousers showed up with bull horns and signs, that I saw two metro police cars on the scene. The two rabble-rousers were situated across a road that separated them from the crowd. Very loudly and obnoxiously they preached against gays, feminist, abortion, black lives matter and they engaged anyone that spoke back. They spewed their rhetoric almost nonstop. When one would get tired of talking, the other took over.

 

 

 

 

There was a very short shoving match between one of the rabble-rousers and a person from the crowd. From what I saw, the person from the crowd push the guy holding the bull horn. The man with the bull horn did not push back. He kept repeating, “I’m being assaulted, I’m being assaulted…..” It was quickly broken up by security. The whole time this was happening the two metro police cars I mentioned earlier watched from a distance. You can see one of the squad cars in the next frame. The security personnel pleaded with the two men to stop what they were doing and leave. The two trouble makers, if you will, apparently knew their rights and the rules. I heard them tell the security guard that they had to be at least 50 feet from the crowd at a certain decibel level. There was not much security could do. The rabble-rousers were well within their right to protest just as the crowd was, but this did not stop some of the crowd participants from engaging the two men with their own rhetoric. They even started to sing songs around the men.

 

 

 

The crowd did not let these men ruin their moment. In fact, the rabble-rousers became part of the host’s speech that drew a big applause from the crowd. For the most part, these men were ignored by the event participants. The crowd continued with their silent inauguration and their fellowship amongst themselves.

 

 

 

There were solemn moments during the silence. You could see people wipe tears from their faces. It appeared to me that the people at this event wanted to let people know that they did not approve and probably more importantly, they wanted to assure themselves that everything was going to be ok. It was good to hear the host end his speech talking about working with and praying for the new administration. If you attended one of these events or something similar, or you just have a general comment, I would love to hear about it. My next “American as American Pie” post will be about the protest at the Tennessee State Capitol Building. As always, thanks for reading!

 

Images Best Viewed in Lightbox Below!

 

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5 Responses

  1. usathroughoureyes
    | Reply

    Travis you have framed this well! So well! The definition for free speech is now defined as free only if you agree with me otherwise I’m gonna punch you in the nose or burn down the neighborhood or worse. Lets go back to real photojournalism for which we studied also. The likes of the Walter Cronkites that reported the news but NEVER let his political views cloud the report. Now days news networks like political parties take sides and fight to the death, not for what is right but rather only because they want to win. The sad part is we all lose. You cite a great document in your opening paragraph and I recommend to all they read a book called “The 5000 year leap – Principles of Freedom 101” It will clearly note all we are ALL to stand for. We can’t wait for your series. We’ll be praying for you.

    • Travis
      Travis
      | Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to comment!! I agree 100%! I will have to take a look at “The 5000 year leap……….” Over the years, it appears that REAL photojournalism has vanished. Networks have been embolden such that they do not hide their bias anymore. Very sad, indeed!

      • usathroughoureyes
        | Reply

        Thank you Travis for getting back to us. We are excited with your site and can’t wait to follow this next series you are working on. Make us proud to be in the arena of photojournalist that were before us and will be after us!….

  2. […] There were no shortage of demonstrations on Inauguration Day 2017. I documented the Silent Inauguration in Nashville (Davidson County), Tennessee. This demonstration was held at Centennial Park near the Parthenon. You can read more about my day and see more pictures at Shuttering Thru Life. […]

  3. […] These guys were protesting the protesters. I ran into these men at the Silent Inauguration and the protest at the Capitol Building in Nashville (Davidson County), Tennessee. You can read more about these guys at the Capitol protest at Shuttering Thru Life and you can see these guys in action on my Silent Inauguration Blog Post. […]

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