It's been many years since I participated in and photographed a demonstration, but I couldn't resist making my way to Washington, D.C. last week to photograph the historic women's gathering the day after the inauguration.
I have to say that I've never been in a crowd that large and it was something I'll never forget. There was about a 2-hour period during the speeches and before the actual march began where I literally couldn't move. It was a bit claustrophobic, and photographically, the best I could do was to raise my camera out of the crowd to grab whatever images I could before my hand would lower into the sea of people surrounding me. Every now and then I would see a small movement of just a few brave souls who were trying to squirm their way to another vantage point, and I would follow them until I would be stopped yet again by a wall of bodies too packed to move.
Once the march began I was able to find a few spots to focus more on the variety of clever, creative, angry and poignant messages that were expressed in the signs and banners, as well as the emotion on people's faces. For a crowd this large I didn't witness even one moment of anything but kindness and solidarity - except for a brief moment when I passed a small handful of people that wanted us to know that we were doomed to hell just because we were women.
I have many feelings about this time in our history and what is unfolding politically. As fearful as I am, I am equally grateful for the experience of knowing that many people feel as I do - and I know that those voices, as well as my own, will not fade silently into the night.