SHARE YOUR TRUTH
The opinions expressed in Share Your Truth are the author’s own.
ERIC ELMORE SHARES HIS TRUTH
Text by Eric Elmore
Photograph © Eric Elmore
Description of image
This portrait is part of a unique and extensive photodocumentation of the Black Lives Matter movement through a series of intimate portraits of activists within the movement. The project is titled ‘I AM.’ To date, I have compiled portraits and personal statement from more than 100 individuals. Anonymous protestor, Phoenix, Arizona, June 2020.
How does the image express or manipulate the truth?
Black Lives Matter may amount to the single largest movement in US history with tens of millions participating in protests. Approximately 40% of all US counties have seen Black Lives Matter protests. Over 90% of these counties are majority White. For many, these were their first protest experiences. Despite these historically large numbers, however, most of White America remains on the sidelines. Movements, for those on the outside, can often seem abstract and distant. The typical imagery of protests and resistance is largely and almost necessarily foreign to them. Those on the sidelines often do not see themselves in those depicted in typical protest imagery. The imagery in this portrait series parts from typical protest imagery, both in purpose and presentation. Each participant in the project is an activist within or a genuine ally of the Black Lives Matter movement. To date, I have photographed more than 100 people. Each participant was asked prior to the portrait session to complete the statement ‘I AM,’ describing him or herself within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, systemic racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, as well as the Covid 19 pandemic, unprecedented economic inequality, mass unemployment, and social unrest. All participants are intimately revealing how they see themselves and how they feel within the current American experience. These are NOT photos of protests, but they ARE protest photos. These portraits are an attempt to reveal the humanity and dignity of the Black Lives Matter movement that typical protest photos often fail to do. Each portrait is a unique individual. Collectively, they are the movement. Each person is simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary. There are no distractions in these photos, nothing to hide behind. Each portrait is you looking back. Their humanity recognizes and pleads for yours in return. You matter to them. They exist and resist for Black Lives to do the same.
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