BALTIMORE — Two days after the Baltimore uprising, I went to North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. On Tuesday, police in riot gear had locked down the block, creating a human blockade to prevent movement of people and traffic. When I arrived on Wednesday, the street was open and moving, and there were people gathered on each of the four corners.
Baltimore City residents were waiting and watching. The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) was there, also waiting and watching, but this time in their standard uniforms. The national news media carried on all around, outnumbering the officers, and interviewing those present. Overhearing the conversations, the media was looking for material to reinforce their already formed opinions, and it seemed to have little to do with my city.
Tired of the abstraction of media narratives, I wanted to look carefully and to make portraits of individuals. I asked each BPD officer present if I could make their portrait, and made a portrait of each who consented. I then made portraits of community members who gave their consent. It felt important to put faces to both groups — I’m suspicious of easy narratives and think that the truth is much more complicated.
These photographs are a small way of knowing my city in this difficult time.
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