A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Faces of a Revolution

Nikon D-200 70-210mm zoom ƒ4 Click to enlargeI went to a Tea Party after work today. What stood out to me was not the signs, but the faces. The people at the Tea Party were solid citizens. Tax paying citizens. Voters. Many were proud to have served their our country in the military. All were productive people. All were concerned about their country falling apart. Of course, the local politicians were on hand for their sound bites and feigned support. Most people there saw right through the attempts to garner a few votes.

Among the signs were flags. The Gadsden flag and the first Navy Jack were proudly flown. One person had Old Glory unfurled upside down. I was glad to see the snakes flying, but I honestly think flying the stars and stripes inverted was pushing it. A maritime signal of distress, in my opinion, should be reserved for when it is warranted.

I found the protest to be a cornucopia of people willing to be photographed. World War II veterans. Working Joes. Housewives. Businessmen. Fathers. Mothers. Teenagers. Kids. I began by photographing the signs they were carrying, often from a distance with my 70-210 zoom lens. Nikon D-200 18-70mm zoom ƒ3.5 Click to enlargeThen, as I moved among the crowd with my 18-70mm zoom and my 85mm prime lens in my pockets, I began to ask people if I could photograph them with their signs. Most were happy to have their picture taken, after all, that was why they were there.

I kept my camera set to shoot 4 fps, and captured several shots of each subject, so I could chose the best one. The 70-210 zoom was great for getting candid shots, and the 18-70 was perfect for shooting among the crowd. It wasn't long before I had my 85mm lens locked on the front of the D-200 though. It wasn't the signs of protest that interested me so much as it was the people. Overcoming the reluctance of asking a person to take their photograph was my goal. I commented on their sign, or T-shirt, whatever they had brought to participate, and then simply asked for a photo. I was refused by only one fellow who wanted me to photograph his sign, but not his face.

Each opportunity lasted less than a minute, so the ability to shoot a burst of four or five photos gave me the option of picking the best one, eliminating the photo with a person walking in front of the camera or having their eyes closed. For better or worse, here are my cherry picked and cropped results.

Nikon D-200 85mm ƒ1.8 Click to enlarge

Nikon D-200 85mm ƒ1.8 Click to enlarge

Nikon D-200 85mm ƒ1.8 Click to enlarge

Nikon D-200 85mm ƒ1.8 Click to enlarge

Nikon D-200 85mm ƒ1.8 Click to enlarge
I began to photograph the crowd again.........

Nikon D-200 70-210mm zoom ƒ4 Click to enlarge

Nikon D-200 70-210mm zoom ƒ4 Click to enlarge

Nikon D-200 70-210mm zoom ƒ4 Click to enlarge
In the crowd was a bright face that glowed like one of the Andrews sisters. I decided to find her when the speeches and music were over.

Nikon D-200 18-70mm zoom ƒ3.5 Click to enlarge

Nikon D-200 18-70mm zoom ƒ3.5 Click to enlarge
UPDATE: The response to these photos has been so strong and positive that I plan to continue to post a photograph of another Tea Party participant every couple of days until my supply is exhausted. These will be tagged "Faces of a Revolution." Hopefully, by then, there will be another Tea Party. I feel a political tsunami is building.........

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25 Comments:

Anonymous Cedric said...

Your photos are definitely getting better. I went to college for photography and some of the hardest assignments for me were of people at events like that. I was always more of the studio person with control over everything. Aside from the quality of the photos one thing that stood out was the age range of the people in them. I like the tea party idea, and the thought of everyday people finally coming together to have their voice heard, but it always seems to be the same people who actually vote (mainly people over 40, many in retirement). Most real, everyday, working Joe's don't have the time to go to these events. They are too busy actually taking care of their families, or enjoying time off after work.
I'm glad you can get that instant gratification of getting a great photo with your digital. I know it makes me feel good.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW positively all extremists. Especially that gentleman in the red shirt and cowboy hat from LA. {Well according to the Federal AG)

As a college educated, former naval officer (specifically, naval aviator) second amendment loving, no traffic tickets in 15 years, yada yada, type, I never dreamed that I would see the day that law abiding, constitution loving, tax paying, backbone of America types would be considered extremists.

2:29 AM  
Anonymous ditto said...

Great pictures.
I had to take a day off to attend my local tea party.
I think there would be a lot more folks attending if these were to happen after 5:00 PM.
I would be able to get there and spend more time talking with folks if that were the case.
More publicity wouldn't hurt either.
I am not so sure that Old Glory flying upside down is out of the question. We are in serious trouble as a country.

4:11 AM  
Blogger Carteach0 said...

I attended a local tea party as well, and blogged it as well. We had a steady cold rain yesterday, all day and evening, so I took only my older point and shoot camera, although I came home with 200 photos.

I noticed the same thing you did, about the people. These were solid, working, tax paying citizens. They were not professional protesters. In fact, I'd be surprised if many of them had ever been to any kind of protest before.

What were the words of Admiral Yamamoto, at the beginning of WWII?
"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Rowman said...

A most excellent post and set of pictures. You captured the Americana I grew up in.

Was wondering if I could have permission to use the picture of the man with the sign "I AM A RIGHT WING EXTREMIST" on a post of mine. My idea is to juxtapose the pic w/ an article of Homeland Security Sec'y defending the HS report. Of course I would provide credit and a link to your blog.

Either way, great work and great blog.

Peace.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Dick said...

Xavier,

First, thanks for documenting this event, it looked sort of like a Fourth of July picnic to me.

On the subject of the photographs, nice job. I have been a fairly serious amatuer photog since my teens, more than 40 years and you have hit upon something interesting about transitioning to digital. When you use film, you have to serious and careful about your composition, lighting, etc.becuase of the limited number frames available. I shot mine like film for quite a while until I went to an airshow with a friend who was relatively new to photography. He was just firing away, while I was searching for that "perfect" shot. Guess what, he ended up with more "perfect" shots than me, and why not. With these modern tools, you have virtual unlimited freedom to "get it right". Plus the more shots you take, the more you learn. Just like shooting firearms....

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pix of the smiling shining lady. . . Reminds me of Gina Davis' conservative sister. Lovely pix. Glad you had a good time, as well as learning something.

B Woodman

7:48 AM  
OpenID westofthewest said...

I couldn't help but notice the man with the sign urging Louisiana to reclaim it's sovereignty. Governor Perry is talking about Texas succeeding from the Union.
I had a nice productive Christian lady tell me right after the election. "No I'm not worried about Obama, somebody's going to shoot him before he's sworn in."

Now I have a clearer picture of why Obama is obsessed with Lincoln. And why DHS is worried.

Obama, Pelosi and Schumer in the driver's seat are what conservatives get when they betray their values.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

The picture of the veteran is the best. He is an embodiment of the original Tea Party spirit.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Rowman, certainly. I think the fellow would be proud.

He drove over 40 miles after work just to attend this Tea Party.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Captain Harley said...

I went to the one in Lakeland, FL.
Hopefully, there will be many, many more. It is also motivating me to start writing my representatives again, which is very important. I wouldn't doubt it if the number of people who do write is less then the number who vote!?!?

AMF/Ride & Shoot Safe

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Brian Dale said...

You wrote, "One person had Old Glory unfurled upside down. I was glad to see the snakes flying, but I honestly think flying the stars and stripes inverted was pushing it."

One thought - from 4USC8, the Flag Code. It's posted at Wkwipedia and at:

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+4USC8


(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

They might have been trying to indicate alarm rather than to insult anyone.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Brian Dale said...

Forgot to add: you've taken terrific photographs; moreover, faces in the pictures from Tea Parties around the country show that this is not the usual kind of protest, nor the typical kind of protesters.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

My feeling, Brian, is that there was no dire distress at the Tea Party that merited flying Old Glory inverted.

Such an act is a cry for help against a specific danger with the hope that a specific response to save lives or property will be rendered.

While our country is in distress, it is not to the point that I feel flying the flag inverted is warranted. In this instance, an inverted national flag is symbolic. I simply feel the distress signal should be reserved for actual distress that puts property and life in immediate peril.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Brian Dale said...

Xavier, you responded, "I simply feel the distress signal should be reserved for actual distress that puts property and life in immediate peril."

Yes, I feel the same way. Thanks for that amplification of your reasons.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Hawken said...

Howdy Sir, These pictures are quite amazing. I went to a Tea Party my self, and was so happy to see people standing up for their beliefs and their rights as American citizens. At Seventeen I'm in the minority of being a "Right-Wing Extremist", and I'm rather proud of it. As you mentioned, it was the people, not so much the signs, that caught my eye. Most were over 35-40 years old but as I could tell were honourable law abiding tax payers. From what I've seen, we need more youth, My peers need to start waking up and smell the Socialism.
Thank you for posting such a powerful blog.

PS.
The Flag upside down isn't to much, I'd do it my self if I had one. It's a sign of Distress, or in need of dire help.

From a Seventeen year old Texan
Hawken.

2:44 PM  
Blogger DMP said...

I love the contrast between the Tea Party attendees and a liberal event. The liberal events look like a freak of nature contest. Can you say, "Salt of the Earth?" Hard working backbone of what is good.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Humm... let's see the past eight years, Bush et. al got us here... nothing here. And now Obama 3 months everyone is literally and figuratively up in arms...... WE see a connection people. It ain't pretty. I know some of the Tea Party folks who are protesting out loud, but behind closed doors are hoping they benefit from the alleged "Socialism".

Great photo's X. Kinda 1950s Rockwellian though.
The D200 is a wonderful camera. The problem with digital is you can make impulsive decisions to delete shots that need time to cure. Maybe some shots of color would be in order.

5:29 PM  
Blogger luca said...

Awesome. I wish I could have went to one.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Rowman said...

Xavier,

Thanks for the permission. It's done, little that it is. http://libertyvsleviathan.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/extreme-security-threat/

On your blog; I've thoroughly enjoyed visiting lately. You're a wealth of knowledge and encouragement for a new gun owner like me. I'm getting too late of a start to master the skills but I'm looking forward to learning.

Keep up the good work.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Ride Fast said...

[...] Tea time here and there [...]

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

There were also many faces of friends and neighbors like these at the April 15 Tea Party in our town. There must have been 3 to 4 thousand people crowding the town square (the "media" report I read reported "tens" were gathered). Many (my wife and I included) brought their children to help them understand our love of our country and our concern about what is happening to it and how it will affect them. The attacks on citizens like us by the msm and liberals (that we are "racists" or "right wing extremists") are disappointing, yet not unexpected - they are afraid and their reaction comes from the fear that we're on to them. Thanks for the wonderful portraits of the folks who are the backbone of America, Xavier!

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

There were also many faces of friends and neighbors like these at the April 15 Tea Party in our town. There must have been 3 to 4 thousand people crowding the town square (the "media" report I read reported "tens" were gathered). Many (my wife and I included) brought their children to help them understand our love of our country and our concern about what is happening to it and how it will affect them. The attacks on citizens like us by the msm and liberals (that we are "racists" or "right wing extremists") are disappointing, yet not unexpected - they are afraid and their reaction comes from the fear that we're on to them. Thanks for the wonderful portraits of the folks who are the backbone of America, Xavier!

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Sans Authoritas said...

The sentiment behind these tea-parties is laudable, but it's totally ineffective. Haven't you heard that some of the tea parties never happened because the organizers never got the proper permits from the government? Pathetically ironic and laughable.

And that's just what the politicians are doing. Laughing.

Many of you doubtless support the criminal ransacking of a 'private' government-subsidized, protectionism-supported ship and subsequent destruction of its cargo, 230 years ago. Yet oddly, you'd be outraged if a group of people dressed up and ransacked the Harley Davidson factory, or a General Motors factory, or a facility which manufactures high fructose corn syrup, or corn ethanol. What's the difference, folks? Do you really see one?

Do you really think you and your neighbors are "represented," when these slugs give handouts to unproductive companies, resulting in higher prices and poorer quality? Ah, never mind. go back to mailing tea bags to your "representatives."

-Sans Authoritas

10:49 AM  
Blogger Mikael said...

I gotta say it's sweetly ironic how, to paraphrase Jon Stuart, the right wing movement are the new fringe left, and fox news is the new NPR. :p

Everything has flipped 180 degrees.

7:05 AM  

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