As controversial immigrant rights demonstrations took place across the USA, calling for an amnesty for ‘illegal immigrants’, I watched one of the largest of them in DC. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants took part some in solidarity with their undocumented compatriots but many were the ‘illegal immigrants’ themselves. Their march passed the White House and the Washington Monument and flooded out on to the Mall. It was moving to see a sea of Star spangled banners mixed with the flags of their original countries, with obvious passion and pride many were taking their first political steps. They had decided : ‘ Not to be invisible anymore’. Many carried banners stating ‘We are all Americans’. I saw a banner: ‘I am an immigrant and a human being’ reminding me of the famous sixties civil rights placards ‘I am a man’. There were immigrants from all over the world from Korea and Lebanon, Afghanistan and Nigeria with their supporters whose grandparents were immigrants from Europe. Overwhelmingly though the marchers were Hispanic from Mexico and El Salvador, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras the Dominican Republic and all of the other Latin American States. America’s openness to immigrants from across the world and its famously porous Southern border makes this place seem the most diverse place on the planet. Clutching the American flag and carrying a sign: ‘We love The United States’ a marcher told me in broken English he loved freedom and wanted only the right to be part of the country he loved and had labored in, and that he wanted to have the right to the ‘pursuit of happiness’ and to pursue ‘the American dream’, the right to become an American citizen after 8 years in the USA illegally.
This image, for me, catches some of the pride and optimism of the march in a generic way. The flag and the Washington Monument icons of the hoped for America. The Star Spangled banner blowing overhead, the sunlight, the flag bearer all combine to create that classic forward to victory spirit. I like the frame of the marchers themselves they are all just about silhouettes making the people generic representatives. Er…… this is worth mentioning…… You need to wear sun glasses while shooting images like this and be careful not to look at the sun to long…..its really not good for your eyesight to stare at the sun.
[ 8 ] comments
- Hi Jez my old friend. It is a bit back to university but with your interest in the stars & strips you might find it interesting to look at Roland Barthes “Mythologies” one of the early attempts at deconstruction of the image. cheers John
J Harris @ April 29, 2006, 4:17 pm
- Hey John you are right…….to actually write something about a photograph……a deconstruction or analysis………. as opposed to just mumbling verbally to your companions and colleges……. takes you back to university days…….I have read some Roland Bathes way back then……’interrogating the obvious’, ‘Myth and Ideology’ are phases that come to mind, but its all a bit vague and I remember it having a French bias not so much toward US content? ….maybe Im wrong about that?…I’ll have to go back and check out anything specific on the Stars and Stripes?!? thanks for that thought and for taking a peek at the blog.
jez @ May 6, 2006, 4:42 pm
- Thank you!
Jody @ May 16, 2006, 11:07 pm
- Yes, this is a nice one with the introduction story. And no dust on the sensor 😉
Kerly @ October 29, 2010, 4:48 am
- Great work!
Ben @ May 16, 2006, 11:07 pm
- Thank you!
Maggie @ August 6, 2006, 3:48 am
- Nice site!
Timothy @ August 6, 2006, 3:48 am
- ionolsen22 May we exchange links with your site?
tester @ October 19, 2006, 4:09 am