June 17, 2020.
2020 is only half over, and it’s already been a strange year. A global pandemic has changed the way we think about social interaction, and reshaped global economies, and now massive protests that started in the United States and then spread worldwide is reshaping our awareness of racial inequality, police brutality, a selective racial criminal justice system and so much, much more.
As I watch the protests from far away in Thailand they reminded me of other protests I covered long ago. It was 2003 and there were anti-war protests across the country. I was in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the time, a city with a military tradition, the home of NORAD, The Air Force Academy, and Ft. Carson, a huge Army base. There was a huge difference in the outcome of the protests in 2003 and today’s protests. In 2003, the United States was hell-bent on a war with Iraq, and the anti-war protests were relatively small, and short lived. Looking back through the lens of time the 2003 protests failed because of support, numbers and duration. The anti-war movement just did not resonate with the majority of the American people.
The protests however did profoundly affect my photography. I was transitioning from a scenic photographer to a photojournalist and documentary photographer. The Colorado Springs protests gave me my first front page newspaper image, and a lesson. The Colorado Springs Independent ran my image of a pepper sprayed young man as a full front page, and an inside page with several follow up images. However they did not use my accompanying story, and did not give me photo credit. My anger over no photo credit passed, but my love of documentary work did not, and today all these years later I still shoot mostly documentary work.
Below are images from the 2003 protests.
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