I photographed a day of protest at the White House last year for a subject which garnered a lot of attention thanks to a few high-profile celebrity arrests. These folks are spitting mad about the proposed expansion of the pipeline that delivers crude from the tar sands of Canada to the United States. The president has delayed a decision on the matter until 2013. It’s NIMBY writ large. I took pictures of the protest and threw together a little portrait series while I was waiting for the protesters to head over to the White House fence to get arrested.
The police herded the press off to the side and then announced that any protesters wishing to do so could leave. If they chose to stay, it was automatic arrest. Because these were acts of civil disobedience, it was the slowest, least dramatic series of arrests I have ever seen. My strobes didn’t have any reach from the section in which they cordoned off the press and the light, as you can see in the above image, was shitty. That being said, it was still somehow compelling to watch people peacefully hand themselves over to police for a cause in which they wholeheartedly believe. I find that democracy in action is, more often than not, a quiet thing.