Black Lives Matter in Melbourne

I haven’t hit the street with my camera for a while since I return from my Singapore trip, I just had too much photographs from the trip to process. But when I notice this event on Facebook, I knew I need to get out and start shooting again. A check on the weather forecast shows it’s going to be a sunny day, a much needed weather after a rainy week. So I get out of bed early and made my way to the city.

I manage to reach on time but apparently, there was a counter rally held by the opposition far-right group before I arrive. They were later escorted away by huge police force from the entrance of State Library and dispersed after that. That was the interesting part of the rally that I missed, should have arrived earlier. Anyway, people supporting the #blacklivesmatter rally were starting to gather outside State Library, so I just walk around the group looking for interesting shots. 

Nothing much occur but there was an incident when police suspected a group of youngsters might be from the opposing group, turn out that they were not. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a march, but would love to have it happen as photographing people standing around listening to speeches isn’t that interesting. From my past experience, when the rally start marching to somewhere, you are able to capture more emotion and movement in the pictures. 

I knew the march was going to happen when I saw the huge police presence moving onto the street. But then, the sun was coming from the back of the march and I knew without a flash, my subjects were going to be backlighted. Somehow, I noticed a few girls’ face were lit by the white cardboard they were holding during the march. It was very obvious so I reckon every photographers around me would have captured the shots. In order to capture the emotional part of the rally, I waited for the girls to shout out before snapping. 

I seldom do closeup shot of protestors but I couldn’t resist taking this shot of the girl with her face lit up by the whiteboard she was holding, her facial expression was another reason I moved in to capture this photo.

The march came to a stop at the junction between Swanston Street and Bourke Street where protestors formed a circle. The usual practise to halt the traffic to send their messages across to passerby and onlookers. It’s a good time for photographers to capture as many shots of the protestors as possible.

A little incident occurred before the march continued towards Flinders Street. Three members from the far-right group appeared near the march and were forced off the street by the police. Some verbal exchanges between both group occurred with police separating the group.

The march moved on along Swanston Street without anymore incident. The march ended at the junction of Flinders Street and Swanston Street. People formed a big circle sitting on the ground listening to speeches delivered. When the group started to disperse, I decided to catch up for a coffee with a friend I met at the rally. Found out on the news later that some arrests were made for people who refuse to disperse.  

Although I truthfully supported the cause of this rally, I always remind myself that I’m an observer documenting the event with a camera. Not taking any side will let me photograph on a neutral ground. Like many, I don’t support protestors wearing a facial mask covering most part of their face, whichever side they are from. If you support a cause, I don’t see a reason why you should be hiding your face, unless you are out causing trouble.

I don’t usually discuss any political views on my blog and like to keep it purely photography related. But tensions are high between the black people and the enforcement in the United States, I hope the situation can be resolved peacefully with constructive dialogues. It can happen anywhere, even in Australia, so it’s important to voice it out peacefully in rallies like this. All lives matter, black or white.

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